Everybody likes a contest, especially elementary school students and their parents.

Back in 2007, The Manahan Group created the When I Grow Up (WIGU) contest for SMART529, West Virginia’s 529 education savings program. The goal of WIGU was to increase brand awareness and the number of 529 accounts established by West Virginia families.

In order to enter, students would have to answer one question: what do you want to be when you grow up? Regional winners are awarded $500 and the overall winning entry takes home $5,000 deposited in the student’s 529 account.

This year’s contest set a new record for entries, over 4,600. We may be wrong, but we think it’s the largest elementary school-based contest in the state. The contest gives students and parents a way to actively engage with the SMART529 brand and starts a discussion at home about the importance of education after high school.

The contest is a partnership with The Hartford and The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office.

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