The When I Grow Up Entry Deadline is February 24, 2023.


Are you a parent or teacher of a West Virginia child? What do your children dream of becoming? A chef, a teacher, an engineer? For over a decade, the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office and SMART529 have been helping children dream big and save for their future with the SMART529 When I Grow Up essay contest.


West Virginia children in grades K-5 can enter to win $5,000 in a SMART529 college savings account by writing about their future. It’s fun and easy. Here’s how it works: A child writes a short essay that begins with “When I grow up, I want to be a…”. They then tell why they chose that career. Parents and teachers can help children with their essays. The entries are broken down into three grade categories and five regions.1 The essays of 15 children are selected by a panel of judges, and those children are awarded a $500 SMART529 college savings account. The winners’ school (or homeschool association) also receives a $500 cash prize. The names of the 15 winners are then placed into a random drawing for the grand prize, which is an additional $4,500 in their SMART529 college savings account.



*Parent/Guardian First Name:

*Parent/Guardian Last Name:


*Phone Number:

*Email Address:

*Child's Full Name:

*Child's Birthday:

*Child's Grade:



When I grow up, I want to be a/an because... (answers must be 100 words or less). Entrants may submit a drawing in addition to their essays.

Please upload an image of the essay and artwork using the button below.

By entering I acknowledge that I have read the Official Rules, fully understand its terms and sign here freely and voluntarily. By signing, I consent to my child’s participation in the contest in recognition of and in compliance with the Official Rules.

By selecting the checkbox below you agree that the above information is correct and the printed name above acts as your signature for this contest submission. You certify you are a West Virginia resident and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of the Contest shown above. You may unsubscribe from our communications at any time.

SMART529 When I Grow Up Essay Contest Official Rules

No purchase necessary to participate or win. Offer void if prohibited or restricted by law. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

Eligibility: Entrants must be a West Virginia parent or legal guardian entering the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” Essay Contest (Contest) on behalf of a child enrolled in Kindergarten through 5th grade as of September 1, 2022 in a public, private, or home school or individualized instruction plan. Child and parent or legal guardian must be a legal resident of West Virginia.

Commercial enterprises, business entities and individuals employed by or affiliated with the Sponsor (named below), Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (“Hartford Funds”), the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office, or Sponsor’s officers and directors, Sponsor’s advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies, legal advisors, and the immediate family members (parents or spouse) and persons living in the same household of such persons (whether related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Contest.

How to enter: Entrants must complete an official entry form and submit the form to “When I Grow Up,” PO Box 1228, Charleston, WV 25324-1228 or submit a secure electronic entry form at Entries must be postmarked or time stamped by 11:59 pm ET February 24, 2023.

Only the person entering the contest is eligible to win. No substitutes. Only one entry per student and only one person is allowed on the entry form. Past winners of the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” Contest are not eligible to win. Parents or legal guardians may go to to download an entry form, or call 1-866-574-3542 and request that an entry form be sent to you. The entry form must be completed with parent or legal guardian’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and signature. The form must also include child’s name, birthday, grade and school along with the answer to the statement, “When I grow up I want to be a/an ________ because…” Older children may write their own answers, while parents or legal guardians of younger children may write answers on their behalf. The essays must be completed in 100 words or less. For a child to be eligible for contest entry, the following criterion must be satisfied: the child and one or both of his/her parents, or his/her legal guardian, must be a resident of WV on September 1, 2022; the child must be enrolled in Kindergarten through 5th grade as of September 1, 2022 in a public, private, or home school or individualized instructional plan; the child’s parent or legal guardian must submit the completed entry on the child’s behalf. Entrants may submit a drawing in addition to their essays. Completed entry forms must be submitted to “When I Grow Up”, PO Box 1228, Charleston, WV 25324-1228 or a secure electronic entry form submitted at Entries must be postmarked or time stamped by 11:59 pm ET February 24, 2023.

Prize: Contest prizes for entrants are a $500 SMART529 education savings account for each of the 15 regional winners and an additional $4,500 placed in the SMART529 education savings account for the grand prize winner. In addition, each regional winner’s school that qualifies will receive a $500 cash award. To qualify, the school must be a public, private, or home school or individualized instructional plan located in West Virginia.  If a winner is home-schooled or has an individualized instructional plan, the $500 school prize will be awarded to the home school association of the parent/guardian’s choice. Individuals are not eligible to receive the $500 cash award. Prizes are non-transferable and no prize substitutions or cash redemptions are allowed except by Sponsor, in its sole discretion. The prize will be awarded no later than September 30, 2023. Amounts awarded may not be withdrawn from the SMART529 account for a minimum of two years from date of deposit. The parent or legal guardian who submitted the contest entry will own the SMART529 account beneficiary or give permission in writing to place winnings in another individual’s SMART529 account. The winning student must be the account beneficiary in all circumstances. Since the SMART529 education savings account is an investment account with certain tax benefits, the parent or legal guardian must provide their signature, federal tax identification number, and the child’s federal tax identification number. For more information, see plan details and disclaimers at or by calling (866) 574-3542. The account owner must select the investment option(s) in which award will be placed.

Sponsor: The sponsor of this Contest is the SMART529 Program, the Board of Trustees of the West Virginia College and Jumpstart Savings Programs, West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV, 25305 (together with its affiliates and subsidiaries, “Sponsor”). Sponsor reserves the right to change, alter, or amend these Official Rules or to alter, modify, or terminate the Contest, as necessary in its sole discretion, to ensure the fair administration of the Contest or to comply with applicable law. General Terms and Conditions: Entry and participation in the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” Essay Contest constitutes an entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. By participating in this Contest, entrants agree that the Sponsor, Hartford Funds, its shareholders, agents and representatives; advertising, promotion, and fulfillment agencies; and legal and other advisors are not responsible or liable for, and shall be released and held harmless from: i.) cancellation or disruption of the Contest; ii.) any printing of typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest; and iii.) any and all losses, damages, rights, claims, and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from participation in the Contest, acceptance, possession, or use/misuse of any prize, including without limitation, personal injury, death, and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. Unlawful, unintelligible, illegible, obscene, indecent, or incomplete entries will be disqualified. The Sponsor reserves the right to scrutinize all entries for these requirements prior to entry in the Contest.

All entries become Sponsor’s sole property and may be included in promotional materials using the child’s first and last name and hometown. Winner Selection: The regional winners will be selected from five regions by a panel of judges. Judges will make their selections from fully completed entry forms submitted. Entries will be judged on creativity and originality of content. All judges’ decisions will be final. The entrants chosen by the judges will be deemed the official winners providing they meet the following requirements: 1.) Submit a completed official entry form; 2.) Meet all eligibility requirements stated in these Official Rules. If these conditions are not met, the prize will not be awarded. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. If the Sponsor is unable, after making a reasonable effort, to contact the winner, that winner will forfeit the prize and no prize will be awarded to that winner.

Each of the 5 regions will have one winner from each of three grade levels: Kindergarten – 1st; 2nd – 3rd; and 4th – 5th. The regional breakdown is as follows:

  • Region I – Beckley/Bluefield area  
  • Region II – Charleston/Huntington area  
  • Region III – Clarksburg/Weston area
  • Region IV – Martinsburg area
  • Region V – Wheeling area

For a listing of counties in each region, call 1-866-574-3542 to have a copy mailed to you. Grand prize winner will be randomly drawn from the names of the fifteen regional winners on or before September 30, 2023. By accepting a prize, the regional winners and grand prize winner agree to allow the Sponsor to use child’s name, likeness, contest entry, biographical data, statements and any other related information for advertising and publicity purposes, including online announcements (i.e. websites, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. Odds of Winning: The odds of winning depend on the total number of entries received.

Notification of Winner: The winners and the winners’ school principals will be notified by phone or in writing no later than September 1, 2023. Following the grand prize announcement, the grand prize winner’s parent/guardian will receive an email with instructions on how to open a SMART529 account.

ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND/OR LOCAL TAXES ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNER. Winners should consult with his or her tax advisor about tax implications, if any, of the SMART529 account, contributions to and/or withdrawals from the SMART529 account. The Sponsor is not responsible for any selection procedures, notifications or other communications that are late, lost, stolen, misdirected, non-deliverable or illegible due to any reason whatsoever. All decisions of the judges (officials representing Hartford Funds and/or the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office) with regard to this Promotion are final and binding in all respects. 1099 forms may be issued to the account owner for prizes over $600.

No purchase necessary to participate or win. Offer void if prohibited by law. Contest entrants must be legal residents of West Virginia. Employees of Hartford Funds and the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office are not eligible to win.

Information collected will be used by SMART529 and/or our agents to provide you with information about the products we offer. We DO NOT share your name, contact information (including e-mail, telephone and physical address) or other information with other companies. To opt out of receiving further information, contact us by e-mail at or write us at PO Box 1228 • Charleston, WV 25324-1228.


If you prefer paper entry you can download and mail completed entries to:

When I Grow Up
PO Box 1228
Charleston, WV 25324-1228

Student Newsletter:
Click image to download


Examples of Past Winner’s Essays
Click image to download


1 See official rules for a listing of grade categories and regional breakdown.