Local students win SMART529 When I Grow Up essay contest


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The winners for the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest for elementary school students and have been announced, and the winners include one student each from Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties.

The West Virginia State Treasure’s Office and SMART529 celebrated 12 years of the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest with an award ceremony on Thursday morning at the West Virginia State Culture Center, according to a release from the state treasurer’s office. State Treasurer John Perdue recognized 15 West Virginia elementary school students for their essays detailing what they want to be when they grow up.

The release stated that the winners were selected from more than 3,300 entries. Each winner received $500 invested into a SMART529 WV Direct Account. An additional $4,500 was awarded to Jaylynn Gano of East Hardy Early Middle School in Hardy County, after being selected as the grand prize winner during a random drawing at the event.

Each winning student’s school was also recognized and awarded a $500 cash prize to support school programs.

Of the 15 winners, three were students from elementary schools in north central West Virginia. Those students were Braylee Ammons, a kindergarten student at Ridgedale Elementary in Monongalia County whose essay was about being an artist; Vincent Cook, a second grader from Fairmont Catholic whose essay was about being a business owner; and Corbie Campbell, a fourth grader from Lumberport Elementary in Harrison County whose essay was about being a zoo keeper.

“We are thrilled to partner with Treasurer Perdue to promote college savings in West Virginia,” said Hartford Funds Senior Vice President Jeff Coghan. “We are now seeing some of the first recipients of this award use their winnings to help further their education.”

Listed below are all of the 2019 “When I Grow Up” Contest student winners:

Winner’s NameGradeSchoolCountyOccupation
Keira Winkler 1st gradeJumping Branch ElementarySummersDoctor
Rowan Meadows 3rd gradeMaxwell Hill Elementary Raleigh Archeologist
Elijah Murphy 5th grade Chapmanville Middle Logan Airline Pilot
Brooke Sayre 1st gradeMalden ElementaryKanawha Animal Keeper
Timmothy Henry3rd grade Beale Elementary Mason Paleontologist
Jack-Tyler Creed Rife 4th grade Kanawha City Elementary Kanawha Blacksmith
Braylee Ammons Kindergarten Ridgedale Elementary Monongalia Artist
Vincent Cook 2nd grade Fairmont Catholic Marion Business Owner
Corbie Campbell 4th gradeLumberport ElementaryHarrisonZoo Keeper
Stella Ann Marie van
KindergartenShepherdstown ElementaryJeffersonPaleontologist
Jaylynn Gano2nd gradeEast Hardy Early Middle HardyBiologist
Savannah Wilkins 5th gradeEast Hardy Early Middle HardyMedia Journalist
Cash McMahan 1st grade A.T. Allison ElementaryHancockBlue Angel Pilot
Asa Brewer2nd gradeA.T. Allison Elementary HancockDisney Interpreter
Karlee Moix5th gradeMiddle Creek Elementary OhioNurse

In addition to the student winners, Lumberport Elementary School 4th grade teacher Kimberly Howell was awarded $2,500 cash for her essay about how she planned to educate children about going to college and saving with the SMART529 program.

“We rely on teachers to emphasize the importance of saving for higher education. I am thrilled to we are able to reward one of them for making a special effort to encourage students to think beyond high school,” said Perdue.

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