UPDATE: The When I Grow Up Entry Deadline has been extended from February 22, 2019 to March 1, 2019.


One West Virginia student and teacher will win big with SMART529!


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.


Through this contest, we have awarded over $100,000 in college savings accounts to children all around the state. 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.


This contest isn't just for students – teachers can win too! One lucky teacher will win $2,500 that can be used for a vacation, shopping spree, new TV or even classroom supplies. The choice is yours! Entering is easy, just tell us how you will use the When I Grow Up contest in your classroom to inspire children to continue their education. Teacher essay submissions must be 500 words or less.


The deadline to submit entries is March 1, 2019. Winners will be honored at a press conference later in the year, and the grand prize winner will be randomly selected from the 15 regional winners. 


Meet some of our past winners! 

Download your entry form here and mail completed entries to:

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

Student Newsletter Entry Form:

Teacher Newsletter Entry Form:


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