Making a Difference Essay Contest Winners

Five win a $1,529 contribution to their account!

The Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP) is proud to announce the five winning entries from our "Making a Difference Essay Contest."

Each winner receives a $1,529 contribution to their college savings account.

Winners were selected from more than 200 entries. Contestants told us how the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan has made, or will make a difference, in their family’s lives or the life of the beneficiary.

Here are the winning entries (download all entries here):

Stephanie Jackson

Broken Arrow, OK
Congressional District 1

“The OK 529 Plan has enabled me to safely and secure maintain my commitment to save my daughter s social security benefits for her college education. My husband passed away from a severe heart attack two weeks after finding out we found out I was pregnant and for the pass 10 years I have kept my promise to save the majority of her funds toward her higher education without worry and it will allow me the joy upon her high school graduation to be able to say her dad helped send her to college to continue his legacy.”

Mary Robinson

Calera, OK
Congressional District 2

“My Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan gave me the opportunity to complete my RN.BSN. I am currently in a Family Nurse Practioner Masters program. I am single and trying to work full time while going to school. My dream is to practice as a Nurse Practitioner in women s health. I will practice in a high poverty rural area of southeastern Oklahoma. Women s health has been a passion of mine since I began working as a nurse. I currently work as a labor and delivery nurse in a hospital that has a high incidence of tennage pregnancies. My goal is to educate young women on taking care of and respecting their bodies. I volunteer my time to teach a ‘Growing Up Female’ class to the fifth grade girls in our county. I believe educating young girls is my small way of reducing the teen pregnancy rate which is so high in Oklahoma. When a teenager has a baby they are far more likely to be dependent on government assistance and far less likely to be a productive member of society. Winning a $1529 contribution to my 529 College Savings Plan would help me fulfill my goal of continuing my contribution to women's health and fill a need in our community. Thank you for your consideration of my application.”

Savannah Simon

Yukon, OK
Congressional District 3

“I am living proof that the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan does make a difference! As college undergraduate graduation approaches in one year I will have achieved my first educational goal. My dream of becoming a doctor has been in place since I was ten years old. After announcing my career choice my parents opened my 529 Savings Plan and explained that becoming a doctor would be expensive but it was a dream they would help me achieve. I will graduate from college because my parents did make a commitment to saving for my education with a 529 Plan and combined with scholarships the 529 Savings money has made a significant contribution to financing my education. I will leave college with my undergraduate degree and no debt. I am nearly halfway to realizing my dream of becoming a doctor and making a difference in the lives of others through medicine and I am proud that my parents had the foresight to open a 529 College Savings Plan and save for my future. When I asked my parents if it was difficult to save for my education they replied that having the money automatically deducted each month was fast easy and became money that they never missed! I never realized that saving monthly year after year would add up to make a significant difference. My life will be forever changed because of my college education. As I look forward to medical school and beyond I realize that both my parents and the Oklahoma 529 College Savings plan have afforded me the incredible gift of a debt-free education. Thanks mom and dad and thanks Oklahoma!”

Larry Steele

Norman, OK
Congressional District 4

“Excellent Expectations. Each day upon picking up my grandson from daycare we would grab an orange and head for the back room to watch Dinosaur Train in our special chair. Often he looked up and said 'Da I want to be a paleontologist like Dr. Scott.’ Like any grandparent I told him he could be anything he wanted. He has since wanted to be a pilot a policeman a firefighter and an OU baseball player. I pondered how I could ease his path in becoming any of these as his future lay uncharted before him. I knew as a career educator that a solid education including a college degree was one key to his future. His parents were struggling and weren't able to put aside educational funds for him. My wife and I found the OCSP program to be a way for us to help and guarantee that our grandson would have resources for a solid education. It was a sound legacy we could leave for him. We have been investing in OCSP every month toward that goal and have seen the fantastic growth in our investment in the past few years. We are glad we decided to bequeath him a gift that would ensure his education continues through his college years. As we have observed our grandson grow and mature we take solace knowing that his future education can fulfill the goals he will set as he chooses his path in life. Whether becoming a doctor or a chef his most recent career wishes we feel confident for his success. Every time we see his mischievous smile his constant curiosity hear his contagious laughter or observe his love of reading we feel secure knowing the OCSP will be there to help him succeed.”

Steven Ireland

Oklahoma City, OK
Congressional District 5

“‘Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ are born from the combination of opportunity and hard work. While many rely on hope or luck to achieve their dreams those who succeed tend to rely on grit and determination to pave their own path. These are the dreamers who will shape tomorrow yet it's unfortunate that so many are left with unfulfilled ambitions due to circumstances WITHIN control. The thoughts of an elderly mother struggling to make ends meet having sacrificed her own dreams in order to provide those opportunities to her child hoping that her hard work will change the future generations is the catalyst of change. Yet the combination of ‘hope’ and ‘hard work’ or ‘luck’ and ‘hard work’ rarely ignites without ‘opportunity.’ Mom knew through those late-night waitressing jobs her struggle with breast cancer and having to manage everything in life that comes between that higher education was the opportunity for me and eventually my son her grandson to ease some of what life throws at all of us. I cannot imagine what my life may have been had Mom not given me this chance. While she was unable to save much due to the economics of the day leaving me to walk across the stage with a loan burden it's her vision that allows me to dream. The discovery that ‘preparation’ drives opportunity and assists hard work led to investing into my son's future. Preparation I believe is as important as opportunity and hard work. Investing in Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan is my preparation not only for my son's opportunity and dreams but also to honor the legacy of my mother's hard work and dreams. I hope that my son will experience life in ways that only I could dream.”



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