Students encouraged to enter CHET Dream Big! competition

Local elementary and middle school students are encouraged to enter the 2016 CHET Dream Big! Competition, a statewide drawing and essay contest aimed at getting Connecticut students in kindergarten through eighth grade to think about their education and careers.

Now in its ninth year, the Dream Big! Competition will award a total of $26,000 in CHET contributions to 48 students who best share their dreams about life after college in an original drawing or essay. Four students will receive a $1,000 grand prize; the others will receive $500. Winners will receive their prize as a contribution to a new or existing CHET account.

To enter, kindergarten through third graders are asked to share artwork depicting what they want to do after they go to college. Fourth through eighth grade students are asked to answer in a 250 word essay how they will change the world after college.

Dream Big! entries are judged within four grade groups — K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8 — based on theme, originality and creativity. Drawings also will be evaluated based on artistic design and attractiveness with essays also judged on overall grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Eight schools statewide, one in each county, will also be awarded a $500 cash prize and recognized as the top Dream Big! school in that county.

To be eligible, the winning school in each county must submit a minimum of 100 entries on behalf of entrants and have the highest number of entries in that county. School winners in prior years have used the money to purchase library books, classroom material and other items to enrich their students’ learning experience.

The Dream Big! Competition is sponsored by the State Treasurer’s Office, TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. and CHET. Entry deadline is March 30. Printable entry forms, official rules and additional details can be found at No purchase is necessary to enter or win.