A group of 30 current and former employees of a Boone County middle school carpooled to the Kentucky Lottery after work on Tuesday, Jan. 30 – entering the lobby with cheers and with the winning $1 million Powerball ticket they purchased at a Hebron Kroger securely tucked away in a math textbook.
The educators refer to themselves as the “Jones 30” after Rector A. Jones Middle School in Florence is where they all met.
The group’s organizer, a retired math teacher, realized the day after Saturday, Jan. 27’s Powerball drawing that her group matched the five white balls but not the Powerball number to win the game’s second prize of $1 million.
She kept the ticket safe by hiding it in a math textbook.
“No one looks in a math book,” she joked. “I knew it would be safe there…page 200. I have checked this a thousand times.”
The group said they have been playing the Lottery for years.
“We all taught at the same school at one point or another,” one winner said. “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.”
They have been pooling their money to play the Kentucky Lottery for over eight years but after uniquely choosing a set of permanent Powerball numbers in 2019, they stuck to those numbers each week.
“Our math teacher and assistant principal pulled them out of a hat,” one winner explained. “At first, we didn’t have the right amount of numbers to choose from, so we drew again. Thank goodness we did.”
Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Mary Harville greeted the group with ceremonial checks, taking photos with the educators until she had the honor of handing each winner their individual prize - $24,000 after taxes.
"Kentucky Lottery games create fun for our players',” Harville said, and these winning educators were having the time of their lives. It was wonderful to watch another chapter in their friendship unfold, thanks to the Kentucky Lottery."
Some members of the group plan to invest the money while others plan to use the funds for travel or home repairs.
“A lot of us have gone on trips together, we’ve had babies and grandbabies over the years,” one winner shared. “We always have so much fun. It’s just cool to win as a group and share this experience.”
The group said they would continue their tradition of playing the Kentucky Lottery as another fun way to stay in touch.
Kroger in Hebron will receive $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.
Since 1999, over $4.8 billion in Kentucky Lottery proceeds have funded college scholarships and grants for Kentucky college students. In 2023, the Kentucky Lottery paid out more than $1.4 billion in prizes.