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Winners of the Virginia Lottery Thank a Teacher Art Contest announced

Virginia LotteryThree Virginia public-school students have been honored as the winners of the inaugural Virginia Lottery Thank a Teacher Art Contest, in partnership with the Virginia PTA. After receiving nearly 1,000 entries, winners from the elementary, middle and high school levels were selected to have their artwork featured on thank-you notes that will be distributed to thousands of teachers across the Commonwealth during National Teacher Appreciation Week 2018.

The three winners include Sahasra Vishwanathan, a second-grade student at Kiln Creek Elementary School in Newport News, Cleo Scott, a seventh-grade student at Albert H. Hill Middle School in Richmond, and Isabel Lee, a ninth-grade student at Battlefield High School in Prince William County. During surprise presentations, each winner received a $150 gift card and $1,000 for their school’s art department, and were invited to attend the Thank a Teacher campaign kickoff event in the spring.

“All of us at the Lottery are proud of our key role in supporting Virginia’s K-12 public schools, so it’s really meaningful when we have the chance to celebrate our great teachers and their most creative students,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. “We’ve added a really interesting new component to the Thank a Teacher campaign, and it’s great to be able to incorporate the artistic talents of this remarkable group of students.”

The students’ original artwork will be featured on the thank-you notes distributed to teachers as part of the Thank a Teacher campaign that celebrates Virginia’s hard-working teachers every April through mid-May. Thank a Teacher is a statewide campaign organized by the Virginia Lottery in partnership with the Virginia PTA and the Virginia Tourism Corporation. In its first two years, Virginians distributed more than 70,000 thank-you notes as part of the campaign.

“We are absolutely amazed by the time and talent that was dedicated to this inaugural art contest. The creative capabilities of the students who participated is something we can all be proud of – and celebrate – along with our great art educators across the Commonwealth,” said Virginia PTA Executive Director Myra Legg.

The Thank a Teacher Art Contest winners were selected by a blue-ribbon panel of representatives of Virginia’s arts community, including:

  • Laura Armentrout, Arts in Education Committee Chair, Virginia PTA
  • Stephanie Fedor, Executive Director, Visual Arts Center of Richmond
  • Amber Kuper, 2013 Virginia Lottery Super Teacher (Chesterfield County art teacher)

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game. Lottery dollars are funding programs statewide based on priorities set by the Governor and General Assembly each year, such as the Virginia Preschool Initiative, Early Reading Intervention, Mentor Teacher, K-3 Primary Class Size Reduction, School Breakfast, Algebra Readiness, Regional Alternative Education and Career and Technical Education.

Sahasra, Cleo and Isabel attend public school in Newport News, the City of Richmond and Prince William County, respectively. Combined, these school districts received more than $105.4 million in Lottery funds for K-12 public education last fiscal year. For more information and a complete list of Lottery funds to Virginia school districts, click here.

About the Virginia Lottery

The Lottery generates more than $1.5 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools. Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of lottery products, the Lottery generated more than a half-billion dollars for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2017. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn, and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

augusta free press
augusta free press