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