SMART529 ‘When I Grow Up’ writing contest winners celebrated in Charleston

SMART529 ‘When I Grow Up’ writing contest winners celebrated in Charleston
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:50 PM EDT
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CHALRESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) - The winners of West Virginia’s SMART529 ‘When I Grow Up’ writing contest were celebrated at a ceremony at the Cultural Center in Charleston on Friday.

Two Southern West Virginia students were given $500 for their 529 accounts at the event hosted by the state Treasurer’s office.

Rylee Workman, a 4th grader from St. Francis de Sales, was named one of several winners of the contest across the state, writing about her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. “My mom got a call and she said Rylee you won the $500 dollars,” she recalled of her excitement upon learning the news.

In Wyoming County, Berlin McKinney 5th grader Lillian Stewart won for her essay on hoping to one day open a garden to table restaurant. “I want to make people happy by serving them food that is fresh from my garden,” she explained.

The contest is designed to draw attention to the state’s SMART 529 savings program for educational expenses. The program allows parents and other caretakers to save for college, K-12 tuition expenses, and trade schools, among other expenses. Considering the growth of compound interest over time, the Treasurer’s Deputy Chief of Staff Gina Joynes said it is beneficial to start early.

“A lot of people think if I’m not going to be able to save for the entire cost of college, it’s not worth my time. That’s not true because it’s always better to save something rather than nothing.

The state will deposit $100 for accounts started before the child turns one. To learn more, visit SMART529 West Virginia’s Education Savings Plan

The Treasurer’s office also plans to host another contest starting in January.