CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Today, January 14, Treasurer Riley Moore announced the 2022 SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest available to students and teachers across West Virginia.

For the last 15 years, the contest has given kindergarten through fifth grade students the chance to win SMART529 savings funds for higher education and teachers the opportunity for cash prizes.

The essay contest asks students to explain what they want to be when they grow up in 100 words or less. All entries will be judged on creativity, originality, and the emphasis on the importance of their education past high school.

“This program inspires our children to dream about their futures and what they aspire to do when they grow up,” State Treasurer Riley Moore said. “It also stresses to parents the importance of preparing for our children’s futures at a young age.”

Entries will be judged from five regions across three different age groups. The first age group will consist of kindergarteners through first graders, followed by the second region, with second and third grade students. The oldest age group will include all fourth and fifth graders.

The 15 regional winners will be awarded $500 invested into SMART529 college savings account. One grand prize winner, randomly selected from the 15 regional winners, will be selected to win a total of $5,000 in SMART529 scholarship money. Each winner’s school will also receive $500 cash award.

Teachers of grades kindergarten through fifth can also compete in the teacher portion of the essay contest for a chance to win $2,500 cash award.

Entry forms for both students and teachers are available at Entry forms can also be found at elementary schools throughout the state.

The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is Tuesday, February 25, 2022.