Two Berkeley County elementary schoolers win WV’s “When I Grow Up” essay contest

29 May 2024- State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced the 15 regional student winners and statewide teacher winner of this year’s annual SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest.

Now in its 17th year, the annual essay contest asks students in kindergarten through fifth grades to write an essay about what they want to be when they grow up. Elementary school teachers can also participate by submitting an essay about how they would use the contest in the classroom to inspire their students.

“The annual ‘When I Grow Up’ essay contest is one of my favorite things to oversee as State Treasurer, as it gives us a chance to hear from thousands of kids from across the state who share their dreams of what they want to be when they grow up,” Treasurer Moore said. “This inspirational contest not only gives parents a chance to sit down with their child and talk about their dreams for their future, but also an opportunity to begin seriously planning how to achieve it.”

This year, 3,315 West Virginia students submitted essays as part of the contest. Essays from three age groups (grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5) were judged in each of the five geographic regions, generating a total of 15 regional winners.

The winners are being announced as part of national 529 Day, an annual celebration on May 29 (5/29) that raises awareness for 529 college savings plans around the country.

Each regional winner will receive $500 invested into a SMART529 account. An additional $4,500 will be awarded to a grand prize winner, who will be randomly selected during a reception and ceremony this September at the Culture Center in Charleston.

Each regional winner’s school will also be awarded a $500 cash prize to support school programs.

The winners, their schools and their dream professions are:

2024 “When I Grow Up” Contest Student Winners

Region Four:

  • Felicity LaMora, 1st Grade at Beverly Elementary in Randolph County – Teacher
  • Oforiwaa Amofah-Yeboah, 3rd Grade at Orchard View Intermediate in Berkeley County – Scientist 
  • Edith Ellsworth, 4th Grade at Orchard View Intermediate in Berkeley County – Special Education Teacher

Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers also had the opportunity to compete in the teacher portion of the essay contest.

The winners, their families and school officials have been invited to an awards ceremony at the state Culture Center in Charleston this September to be officially recognized and have an opportunity to read their essays. The grand prize winner will then be randomly selected at the ceremony.

The “When I Grow Up” student and teacher essay contests are sponsored by SMART529, Hartford Funds and the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office to promote awareness of SMART529 and the need for higher education savings.