Seventh Grade Mill Creek Student Selected as People’s Choice Winner in Learning Quest Essay Contest

For more information: Ashley Murdie Director of Communications 785.296.3538 ashley@treasurer.ks.gov

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes will award seventh grade Mill Creek Middle School student Ally Barnhart from Lenexa, Kan., a $1,000 prize for a Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program account at a school assembly December 17.

For the first time this year, ten runner-up essays from the Learning Quest Essay Contest were chosen by judges to be entered in a People’s Choice Contest on the Learning Quest Facebook page. Out of the five seventh-grade contenders, Barnhart’s essay received the most public votes, earning her the title of People’s Choice Winner.

The goal of the Learning Quest Essay Contest, open to all seventh and eighth grade students across the state, is to inspire them to think about their future and the importance of higher education. It also encourages families to start saving for college early.

This year's essay contest asked students ‘If you had $2,000 to invest in your interests, how you would spend the money to better prepare yourself for the future?’ Essays were judged on creativity, originality of content and clarity. This year, over 1,000 essays were received from across the state of Kansas.

"The essay contest has been a great way to encourage seventh and eighth graders to reflect on their future goals and think through how they may achieve them,” said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes. "I continue to encourage the young men and women of Kansas to think about their future, the education necessary for their desired careers, and what they can start doing today to achieve their dreams."

Each of the schools attended by the four winners (the two winners selected by the judges and the two winners by public voting) will also receive a $1,000 prize from Learning Quest.

The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program was created to help families invest for their child’s continued education after high school whether at a traditional four-year college, community college, or technical/vocational school. Kansas taxpayers can receive a Kansas tax deduction up to $3,000 per child ($6,000 if married, filing jointly) on contributions to Learning Quest or any other state-sponsored 529 plan.

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth- generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.


Before investing, carefully consider the plan’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This information and more about the plan can be found in the Learning Quest Handbook, available by contacting American Century Investment Services, Inc., Distributor and Underwriter, at 1-877-345-8837, and should be read carefully before investing.

As with any investment, it is possible to lose money by investing in this plan. The value of your Learning Quest account may fluctuate, and it is possible for the value of your account to be less than the amount you invested.

Notice: Accounts established under Learning Quest and their earnings are neither insured nor guaranteed by the state of Kansas, the Kansas State Treasurer or American Century Investments.

The earnings portion of non-qualified withdrawals is subject to federal and state income taxes and a 10% federal penalty.

The availability of tax or other benefits may be conditioned on meeting certain requirements, such as residency, purpose for or timing of distributions, or other factors.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

Administered by Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes Managed by American Century Investment Management, Inc. ©2013 American Century Proprietary Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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