Kids encouraged to Dream Big! Plus, they can win $$$ for college

State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier has announced the launch of the sixth annual CHET Dream Big! Competition, aimed at getting kindergarten through fifth grade students across the state to think about their education and careers.

CHET is the Connecticut Higher Education Trust, the state’s 529 college savings plan. Nappier is a trustee of the plan.

In 2013, the Dream Big! Competition received more than 2,300 entries from schools in two-thirds of the municipalities in the state. This year, the goal is to reach even more schools in even more towns to inform students, teachers and parents about the value of saving for college early.

The competition will award three grand prizes of $1,000 CHET 529 college savings accounts – the highest prize amount in the competition’s history.  An additional 60 students will win a $500 CHET account.

There are two entry categories based on grade level. Students in grades K through 3 are asked to submit an original drawing that answers the question, “What do I want to do after I go to college?” Fourth and fifth graders are asked to write an essay that responds to the question, “How will I change the world after I go to college?”

Entries are judged on five criteria: creativity, originality, portrayal of theme, spelling and grammar. Winners will be announced and recognized during a ceremony in May.

The three $1,000 grand prize winners will be chosen from all entries; one winner each will be chosen from grades K and 1; 2 and 3; and 4 and 5.  Forty-eight winners (six per county) will be awarded a $500 CHET account.  Twelve statewide winners representing Connecticut’s Review and Turnaround Schools also will be awarded a $500 CHET account.

Schools have chance to win, too

A new feature of the competition encourages teachers to have their students participate in the program: The school with the highest number of entries will win $500, and the 10 teachers who submit the greatest number of entries will win an iPad mini for their classroom.

Students who don’t enter through their school can enter on their own. Parents or other caregivers may download the entry form and materials at

The deadline for entries is March 26, 2014. Official rules and full entry details can be found at or on Facebook at

Carolyn Mueller