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When I Grow Up essay contest now open to students

Elementary school students from around the state have the chance to win up to $5,000 in higher education expenses through the ninth annual SMART529 When I Grow Up student and teacher essay contest.

The contest, conducted by State Treasurer John Perdue and The Hartford, gives kindergarten through fifth-grade students a chance to share in nearly $20,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Three age group winners (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) will be judged in each of the five regions, making for a total of 15 winners.

The 15 winners will be awarded $500 invested into a SMART529 college savings account and will be invited to an event in the fall where the grand-prize winner will be randomly selected to receive a total of $5,000 in SMART529 scholarship money. Each winner’s school will also receive a $500 cash award.

The When I Grow Up contest allows students, with the help of their parent or guardian, to submit, in 100 words or less, an essay that answers what they want to be when they grow up. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.

Teachers of grades K-5 also will have the opportunity to compete in the teacher portion of the essay contest. This year’s winning teacher will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

Entry forms for both students and teachers are available at www.SMART529.com. In addition, forms will be available at elementary schools throughout the state. The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is Feb. 26.

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