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Group of Kentucky middle school employees win $1M lottery; hide ticket in math textbook

By Emily Sanderson

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    HEBRON, Kentucky (WLWT) — A $1 million Powerball ticket sold in northern Kentucky has been claimed, not just by one person, but 30.

A group of educators and former educators in northern Kentucky are celebrating a dream come true after they hit the Match 5 in the Powerball for the $1 million prize.

According to the Kentucky Lottery, the winning ticket was purchased at the Kroger on North Bend Road in Hebron.

Saturday night’s winning numbers were: 7-38-65-66-68 Powerball 21.

The lottery says the winning ticket matched all five white ball winning numbers, but not the Powerball, winning the game’s second prize of $1 million.

The group, who call themselves “The Jones 30” because they all worked at Jones Middle School 14, started gathering money and keeping a spreadsheet, playing the same numbers over the years, always keeping the number at 30.

“We all taught at the same school at one point or another,” one winner told lottery officials. “We’ve got counselors, admins, special ed teachers, the school nurse… Some have moved on or retired but we still continue to do it. We’ve remained buddies for all of these years.”

The group’s organizer, a retired math teacher, realized the day after the drawing that the group matched the five white balls but not the Powerball number to win the game’s second prize of $1 million.

She told lottery officials she kept the ticket safe by hiding it in a math textbook.

“No one looks in a math book,” she said. “I knew it would be safe there…page 200. I have checked this a thousand times.”

They said they plan to split the $1 million among themselves. Only 13 members of the group still work at Jones Middle School and still showed up to work on Monday after making plans to distribute their winnings. Some still work at Jones Middle School, while others are retired or work in other neighboring schools.

According to the school district, each member shared a funny story about how they found out they had one, including one member who woke up from a nap to more than a hundred text messages and several phone calls.

On Tuesday, the group drove to Frankfort to collect their winnings. After dividing amongst themselves, most said they plan to take care of some small but important things, the district said, like new appliances, paying off debts and booking vacations.

“This is amazing for this group at Jones. These teachers are hardworking and go the extra mile for their students. I am so very happy for them and proud of the way they are handling this! I wish it were a gift I could bestow upon all of my staff. No one at Jones rests on their laurels,” Jones Middle School Principal Stacy Park said.

The district said the group still plans to play the lottery using the same numbers, though they know their probabilities might be lowered after their big win.

Kroger in Hebron will receive $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.

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