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Young artists win scholarships
in Comptroller poster contest

Art and Dreams

"What I want to be after college" is the topic more than 5,000 Texas students displayed artistically in hopes of winning the 2002 Texas Tomorrow Fund poster contest. In May, the 12 Comptroller employees who volunteered to judge the contest chose the nine winning posters and awarded college scholarships to the student artists whose creativity impressed them the most.

Grand prizes
Sunjin Nam, a fourth-grade student at Fort Worth's Daggett Montessori School who wants to be a fashion designer, won the grand prize in the elementary school category. Sunjin's father, Samuel B. Nam, said that his daughter's winning came as quite a surprise. The poster contest was the second time Sunjin's creative talent has been recognized. In 2001, Sunjin was awarded a free trip to New York when she won the UNICEF greeting card contest in her age category.

Mary Pennington, an eighth-grader attending San Antonio's Bradley Middle School who wants a career as a math teacher, garnered the grand prize in the middle/junior high school category. "I couldn't believe it. I'm so excited. I don't know what college I'll go to yet, but I'm pleased I have the opportunity to go wherever I want," Pennington says.

Sponsors
The grand prize winners each received four-year Texas Tomorrow Fund scholarships sponsored by Belo Corp. and Farmers Insurance Group.

"The poster contest gives students an opportunity for an education who may not otherwise have access to one," says Regina Sullivan, vice president of government and public affairs for the Dallas-based Belo Corp.

John Hageman, president of Farmers Insurance Group of Companies-Texas, says, "Farmers historically has been a very strong supporter of educational enhancement. We've always looked for ways to help the youth of Texas and America become more educated."

IMSET award
John Kim, a first-grader at Sue Creech Elementary School in Katy, is the winner of the Intel Math, Science, Engineering and Technology (IMSET) scholarship, which is open to elementary and junior/middle school students whose drawings depict careers in technical or scientific fields. The scholarship will help young Kim achieve his goal to mine minerals from the planets.

"We created this category to put additional emphasis on the need for students to pursue studies in math and science," says Intel External Affairs Manager Fred Shannon. "Children today think about becoming doctors and lawyers, coaches, police and firefighters, which are all needed. But we also need engineers and computer programmers to drive the technology economy. And quite frankly we don't have enough. This contest is just one effort in a myriad of initiatives to highlight the importance of math and science," Shannon adds.

Runners up
Three runners-up in the elementary school category and three runners-up in the middle/junior high school category each received one-year community college scholarships sponsored by Fannie Mae and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

The elementary school runners-up are Javan Booker, a fourth-grade student at Pebble Creek Elementary School in College Station, whose career ambition is to become a science teacher; Abeer Kanafani, a fifth-grader at Bess Campbell Elementary School in Sugar Land, whose drawing depicts a veterinary career; and another future veterinarian, Sara Touchton, a fourth grader at Abilene's Wylie Intermediate School.

The middle school runners-up are Ashley Roush of Denton, an eighth-grader at Strickland Middle School, who sees a future in politics; Clayton Bowen, a seventh-grade student at Eagle Lake Middle School in Eagle Lake, who wants to be an artist and Christopher Seifert, an eighth-grader at La Grange Middle School in La Grange, who hopes to become a weather forecaster.

"We participate as a contest sponsor because it is a fabulous program," says Pat Hemingway Hall, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "It helps Texas become a better place because it reaches out to children all over the state and encourages them to continue their education."

Affordable plan
The Texas Tomorrow Fund allows families to set up a flexible, affordable plan to prepay their children's college tuition and required fees at today's prices. For as little as $33 a month, parents, grandparents or anyone can prepay for two years of community college for a newborn.

As little as $132 a month covers tuition and fees for four years at a public college or university for a newborn. For more information on the Texas Tomorrow Fund, visit www.texastomorrowfund.org.

Planning ahead
The poster contest is one way the Comptroller's office, which oversees the fund, publicizes the advantages of planning ahead for a child's college education. Since its beginning in 1996, the Texas Tomorrow fund has sold about 118,000 individual higher education contracts.

As of March 31, 2002, more than 7,500 students with contracts had started college, and the fund has paid out more than $34 million to public and private institutions' of higher education. The fund has about $790 million invested in stocks and fixed income securities.

Pam Wagner