Three VA Students Earn Money For Schools Via Thank A Teacher Contest

Written By Cole Rush on March 22, 2023
virginia lottery thank a teacher art contest brownsville elementary grafton middle deep run high

The Virginia Lottery is thanking the state’s teachers with artistic thank-you notes.

The VA Lottery received nearly 700 entries for the sixth annual Thank a Teacher Art Contest. From that deep pool, the lottery announced three winners from elementary, middle and high schools across the state. Winning artwork is featured on thank-you notes sent to more than 200,000 Virginia teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week May 8-May 12.

Among the winners: fifth-grader Leah Salzberg (Brownsville Elementary), seventh-grader Allie Beatley (Grafton Middle) and Vaidehi Murthy (Deep Run High).

About the Virginia Lottery Thank a Teacher Art Contest

The Virginia Lottery organizes the annual Thank a Teach contest in partnership with The Supply Room, IGT, and NeoPollard Interactive. Students K-12 submit artwork to the contest, and three winners are selected from each level: elementary, middle school and high school. The winning artwork is selected by the Virginia Lottery’s judging panel, which includes:

  • Peggy Wood: Executive Secretary, Virginia Art Education Association
  • Gina Patterson: Executive Director, Virginia School Board Association
  • Wade Whitehead: 2011 Virginia Lottery Super Teacher (executive director, Teachers of Promise Institute & Roanoke City teacher)
  • Amber Kuper: 2013 Virginia Lottery Super Teacher (Chesterfield County art teacher)

For their efforts, Salzberg, Beatley and Murthy each won a $200 gift card. In addition, their schools each received $1,000 for their art departments from The Supply Room and an additional $1,000 from the VA Lottery.

“Teachers are at the heart of the Lottery’s role to support K-12 public education in Virginia, and we love the opportunity to celebrate all their hard work through the Thank a Teacher campaign,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kelly Gee. “It is an extra-special touch to display such meaningful art on these thank-you notes. We are excited to once again recognize three of Virginia’s own talented public school artists with this award!”

How Virginia gambling revenue helps the state

Virginia’s gambling industry — overseen by the Virginia Lottery — helps the state in many ways. The Virginia Lottery’s Thank a Teacher Art Contest is a relatively small program, but it’s a great example of a state’s gambling oversight organization working to build community and invest in its residents.

Online gambling permit holders in the Commonwealth pay 15% of their monthly revenue in taxes. Of that, 2.5% goes to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, while the remaining 97.5% goes to the state’s General Fund. From there, it funnels into a variety of resources and programs. There are 16 Virginia online sportsbooks available.

In January 2023, Virginia drew in $42.1 million in adjusted gross revenue, which generated approximately $6.4 million in tax revenue. All told, $6.2 million went tot he General Fund, while $159,222 went to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.

On top of that, Virginia Lottery proceeds represent about 10% of the state’s entire budget for education.

Consider the communities from which the three Thank a Teacher Art Contest winners hail and how much those areas received in lottery fund’s last fiscal year:

  • Albemarle County, home of Brownsville Elementary: More than $4.6 million
  • York County, home of Grafton Middle: More than $5.38 million
  • Henrico County, home of Deep Run High: More than $33.6 million
Photo by PlayVirginia
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Cole Rush

Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found at gambling publications such as iGaming Business, Gaming Today,,, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for and Cole has more than 9 years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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