Area youth a regional winner in essay contest

WEIRTON – A representative of West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue’s office visited the city Wednesday to recognize a student essay contest winner at Liberty Elementary School.

Third-grade student Dominic Guiddy was one of 15 regional winners in the 2014 SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest. A total of 3,000 students entered the contest statewide. His accomplishment earned his school a $500 cash award. Jenny Coyne, state treasurer’s office representative, presented the award.

Guiddy’s winning essay was about his goal of becoming a robotics engineer when he grows up. He was inspired when Santa Claus brought him a toy robot for Christmas last year. He said his favorite school subject is science, and he enjoys creative writing.

“I was absolutely ecstatic when he won this contest. He is an excellent writer, and he works very hard at school,” said Nicole Drobish, Guiddy’s third-grade teacher.

Principal Stephanie Brown said that writing is a major focus of Liberty Elementary’s curriculum.

“One of our big goals is writing, and we really push our third- and fourth-graders to apply themselves creatively,” she said.

In addition to the school prize, each essay contest winner will receive $500 invested into a SMART529 college savings plan and be recognized at a statewide awards ceremony in Charleston on Sept. 18. At that time, each student will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win the grand prize: a total of $5,000 invested into a college savings account.

SMART529 is the state’s college savings program issued by the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees under Perdue, chairman. The program is administered by Hartford Life, and this is the seventh year that the essay contest was held.

“We’re very proud of him,” Paul and Rosanna Guiddy, Dominic’s parents, said.