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Long County girl, 8, wins college money
Long Co girl wins college money
Smiley Elementary School third grader Rebekah Suggs holds the $1,529 check she was given for winning the Path2College 529 scholarship. Suggs is flanked, from left, by grandfather Dan Yarbrough, mother Kay DeLoach, grandmother Beth Yarbrough, sister Riley Suggs and Path2College 529 Plan Executive Director Mitch Seabaugh. - photo by Lisa Long

An 8-year-old Long County girl — with the help of her grandfather — showed everyone in the area that it is never too early to start planning for college.

Smiley Elementary School third-grader Rebekah Suggs received a $1,529 check Monday that will go toward her college savings plan.

She received the Path2College 529 scholarship through the “We Care, Child Care” sweepstakes. Rebekah was one of only six students across the state to win the prize.

Her grandfather Dan Yarbrough nominated for the scholarship.

At such a young age, Rebekah still has plenty of career options from which to choose, but she appears to be focused on science. She said she plans to use the money when she goes to college to work toward being some kind of scientist, perhaps a chemist, geologist or archaeologist.

“Winning the ‘We Care, Child Care’ sweepstakes will make a very welcome addition to Rebekah’s college savings,” Yarbrough said. “We were all thrilled to hear that she had won.”

Yarbrough said parents and grandparents should begin planning for their children’s and grandchildren’s college education early in their life.

“With college costs skyrocketing, it’s prudent to save in a tax-advantaged account like Georgia’s Path2College 529 Plan,” he said. “It’s important to start now and not procrastinate.”

The “We Care, Child Care” sweepstakes is funded through a partnership between the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and the Path2College 529 Plan. It was designed to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college among families with child-care-age children. In addition to assisting with scholarships and college planning, DECAL also runs the state’s Head Start and prekindergarten programs.

The goal of the DECAL is to meet the child-care and early needs of Georgia’s children and their families.

The state established the Path2College 529 Plan in 2002, and through Oct. 31, more than 28,000 families had withdrawn more than
$421 million from it to pay for education-related expenses.

The plan provided more than 128,000 beneficiaries with more than $1.7 billion saved as of Sept. 20.

For more information about the plan or to open an account, go to

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