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Saving made simple: Government to use child’s poster to sell bonds

May 29, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ ``You can save a bunch of money,″ 11-year-old Tara Russo said as she proudly waved the $1,000 U.S. savings bond she took home as the third place winner in the Treasury Department’s annual poster contest.

After accepting their awards Thursday morning, Tara, a fifth-grader from Brick, N.J., and the other winners joined U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow in her office for lunch.

Withrow told the children she and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin are the only Americans who can’t buy bonds. ``I kind of resent that, frankly,″ she said.

The contest’s grand prize, a $5,000 bond, went to Ethan Custer, 12, of East Grand Forks, Minn. He had plenty of time to work on his poster in the last few months while his school was closed first by winter blizzards, then spring floods.

Custer’s drawing depicting a red, white, and blue hot-air balloon with an astronaut, a graduate in cap and gown and a scientist riding in the bond-emblazoned basket. The Treasury Department will use the poster to promote savings bond sales next year.

Second-prize winner Milena Bica, 12, moved with her family to New London, Conn., from Albania just 15 months ago. Her poster, which earned her a $2,000 bond, featured a nest of eagles _ symbolic birds, she said, for both her old and new countries.

Withrow said the poster contest, which thousands of school children from around the country enter each year, aims to teach kids the importance of saving.

``When you do a poster, you really understand the subject,″ she said.

For instance, Joshua Conley, 11, state-level winner in the District of Columbia, understands his $1,000 bond will be worth that much only if he keeps it a long while.

``Say I save mine for seven years, but after seven years I cash it in. They don’t give you the whole amount,″ he explained.

Conley, like the rest of the winners, said he plans to keep his bond for college.

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