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1997 Savings Bond Student Poster Contest Winner To Receive $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond


May 27, 1997

Treasurer of the United States Mary Ellen Withrow will present three top winners in the 6th Annual Savings Bonds Poster Contest with awards during a ceremony at the Capital Children's Museum, 800 Third Street, NE, Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 29, 1997. The winning posters are the work of three student artists, one a sixth-grader from Minnesota, and two fifth-graders from New Jersey and Connecticut. Their posters, and those of all the other 48 first-place winners from each state and the District of Columbia, will be displayed at the Museum from May 29 through June 16. Following those dates, a special exhibit of their work will appear in 70 airports around the country this fall.

The first-place winner, Ethan Custer, a sixth-grader from Bible Baptist Christian School, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, will receive a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond and his poster will be used to promote the sale of bonds nationwide in 1998. The theme of this year's contest will be the 1998 savings bond campaign slogan: “U.S. Savings Bonds - Invest Today - Enjoy Tomorrow.” Ethan had lots of extra time to work on his poster when school was closed during the blizzards in Minnesota this winter. He modestly describes his success as “really neat -- really exciting.” He said his bond winnings will be used for a trip to visit missionaries in his church and for college.

The second-place and third-place winners, Milena Bica, a fifth-grader at Harbor Elementary School, New London, Connecticut, and Tara Russo, a fifth-grader at St. Dominic School, Brick, New Jersey, will receive $2,000 and $1,000 in savings bonds, respectively.

The poster contest began in 1992 as a fun way for students to learn the value of saving. “The poster contest is an opportunity to teach our young people the benefits of saving and to reach families and their communities with the savings bond message,” said Richard L. Gregg, Commissioner of the Public Debt. The Bureau of the Public Debt manages the savings bond program. The national contest is usually sponsored by the company whose Chief Executive Officer chairs the U.S. Savings Bond Volunteer Committee. Sponsor of this year's contest is James R. Leva, Chairman, President, and CEO of General Public Utilities Corporation, New Jersey, who chaired the 1996 U.S. Savings Bond Volunteer Committee. State contests are sponsored by local businesses and other organizations.

State winners were selected earlier this year. First-place entries from each state and the District of Columbia then were submitted to a panel of judges for selection of the national winners.

The panel of judges was U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow; Mrs. Leva; Harry Rand, Senior Curator, Painting and Sculpture, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Judith A. Wiley, New Jersey Artist; J.P. Williams, Partner in M.W. Design, New York; and Michael Leva, Fashion Designer, New York.

Savings bonds have many advantages for investors. Bonds are available through payroll savings plans in many private companies and other organizations. They also can be purchased through many financial institutions for a minimum investment of $25 for a $50 bond. Savings bonds are safe, backed by the U.S. government, and can be replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed. Series EE bonds are exempt from state and local income taxes, and the federal income tax liability on earnings can be deferred until the bonds are redeemed or reach final maturity. There are special tax benefits available when bonds are used for education. Investors who qualify can exclude all or part of the interest earned on Series EE bonds from income when the bonds are redeemed to pay for post-secondary education.

Series EE savings bonds purchased on or after May 1, 1997, earn interest based on market yields for 5-year Treasury securities right from the start. Now, Series EE bonds increase in value every month. The rate for new Series EE bonds is 5.68 percent from May through October 1997.