Not Too Late For Kids To Enter The VA Lottery Thank A Teacher Art Contest

Written By Dann Stupp on January 28, 2021 - Last Updated on January 30, 2021

The Virginia Lottery is responsible for many of the games of chance in the commonwealth, but its Thank a Teacher Art Contest is a sure thing.

VA Lottery officials are reminding students about the upcoming deadline for the fourth annual art contest.

The program recognizes and honors Virginia schoolteachers, as well as the budding artists they teach. After a year with COVID-19 pandemic hurdles, the latest contest is especially important.

“Teachers, they always go above and beyond, right?” Jennifer Mullen, the public affairs and community relations manager for the Virginia Lottery, told PlayVirginia. “Teachers are amazing, especially in this virtual world.”

“I have a high schooler in the virtual world right now. You know, the creativity, the dedication that we’re seeing from the teachers is just absolutely amazing. And so that is exactly the message we want to convey. … We always want to thank our teachers, but we certainly want to thank them now more than ever.”

About the Thank a Teacher Art Contest

The VA Lottery teamed with the Virginia PTA and The Supply Room to support this year’s contest.

It’s open to Virginia students in K-12 public schools. Students create an original art piece that conveys their appreciation for Virginia’s teachers.

A blue-ribbon panel of judges determines one winner from each level:

  • Elementary school
  • Middle school
  • High school

The panel includes the executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. It also includes a former recipient of the VA Lottery’s “Super Teacher” program, among others.

Submissions must be submitted online at by the deadline of this Monday, Feb. 1. Lotto officials will announce the winners in March.

Each contest winner will receive a $150 Visa gift card. Each winner’s school will also receive $2,000 from the lottery and The Supply Room.

Tips For a Winning Art Submission

Here’s a touching video of last year’s winners. It includes their remarkable artwork:

So, what do typical winning submissions look like? As Mullen said, they’re not just visually appealing. They go deeper than that:

“When you see some of these submissions that come from these students, you just really sense that emotion of what they’re trying to convey – for how much they appreciate their teachers. And that really can come through in the artwork. So yeah, you do kind of know (a winning entry) when see it, but you also feel it.”

The winning entries will be available for students to use throughout the commonwealth. The artwork will be featured on printed and virtual thank-you notes that are distributed to teachers in conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

Students, parents, and others can use the cards to thank their favorite teachers.

VA Lottery’s Commitment to K-12 Education

Since 1999, all VA Lottery profits have been used for K-12 public education in Virginia. The proceeds have tallied more than $6 billion for K-12 education since its launch. The tally includes $595 million in the most recent fiscal year.

The funds account for nearly 10% of the state’s entire education budget.

So, what is it used for exactly? Among other things:

  • School breakfast programs
  • Virginia Preschool Initiative
  • K-3 classroom-size reductions
  • Career and technical education

Of course, the VA Lottery is also now in charge of sports betting and casino gambling in the commonwealth. That revenue is earmarked for other initiatives, though.

However, the VA Lotto’s bigger presence will give officials an opportunity to spread the word of its K-12 support.

For many teachers and students, the future remains uncertain. But as we’ve seen during an international pandemic, educators are often up to the challenge.

“We’re always looking for ways to honor and highlight educators,” Mullen said. “Especially these days.”

Photo by Christian Bridgewater / Dreamstime
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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