Educators played the same Powerball numbers for years, then hid a $1M winning ticket in a math book

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A group of employees and teachers from a Kentucky middle school who bought a $1 million Powerball winning ticket tucked it in a math textbook for safekeeping before claiming the prize this week.

The group of 30 educators, some retired, met at Rector A. Jones Middle School in northern Kentucky near Cincinnati and have been playing the Powerball together for eight years. They call themselves the “Jones 30,” and the members include counselors, administrators, teachers and some retirees from the school, according to a media release from the state lottery.

They’ve been playing the same Powerball numbers since 2019, when they drew them randomly from a hat.

On Saturday, those numbers, 7-38-65-66-68, finally hit. Their ticket matched all five white numbered balls in the drawing, but missed the Powerball, giving them a $1 million prize.

Sharon Reynolds, a vice principal at the middle school, said she got a call Sunday morning from a teacher in the group saying she believed they had won.

“She said, ‘I think we won big.’ I said, ‘How big?’” Reynolds said. “She said, ‘I think it’s a million.’”

After school ended on Tuesday, the group carpooled to Louisville, about a 90-minute drive, with the winning ticket safely stashed away in a math textbook, page 200.

Arriving at lottery headquarters in Louisville, officials greeted them each with their individual winnings — $24,000 each after taxes.

Kentucky Lottery President Mary Harville handed them the winning checks.

”Kentucky Lottery games create fun for our players, and these winning educators were having the time of their lives,” Harville said in the release.

Reynolds plans to give each of her children part of the winnings. One of her three daughters is getting married this year, and another needs new tires for her car.

“As teachers, we don’t make big money,” said Reynolds, who’s been at the school in Florence, Kentucky, for 23 years. “I wish every teacher in Kentucky would get this.”

The group members said they plan to continue playing the lottery.

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