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Group Of Teachers Win $10,000 Lottery Prize

"The Teachers" Win $10,000 Prize in April 7 Powerball® Drawing

The Teachers   Hear their story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A group of four Burlington teachers was shocked to win a $10,000 Powerball prize, since they've only been playing together for a few months.

Valarie Buckner, who spoke on behalf of the group, said the four ladies have only been pooling their money for Powerball tickets since December.

"Yeah, it was pretty fast!" Buckner said as the group claimed its prize April 13 at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.

The group won the prize in the April 7 Powerball drawing, which happened to be Buckner's father's birthday.

"He's deceased, so I'm thinking maybe he helped," Buckner said.

The group's members are: Buckner, Rhonda Murphy, Sandra Steele and Tonja Carlson, who all live in Burlington and work together as Head Start preschool teachers.

"The numbers that we won on was actually from one of the teacher's favorite numbers to play," Buckner said. "It was her children's birthdays and her lucky numbers. It was Tonja."

Buckner said it's her job to purchase the tickets on behalf of the group, but she always lets someone else check to see if they've won.

"Rhonda called me and asked if I knew why she was calling," Buckner said. "She said, 'Have you looked at our lottery numbers? Well, we got five numbers!'"

From there, Buckner's soon-to-be son-in-law went to the Iowa Lottery's website and discovered they'd won a $10,000 prize. Buckner said the women have decided to continue playing together.

"My mother's birthday is coming up," Buckner said with a laugh. "We have five sets of numbers that we always play."

Two of the group members choose their own numbers; one set of numbers is played from a fortune that reads "You will come into a large amount of money within the year." Buckner said each of the members have told their families and a few coworkers.

Buckner purchased the winning ticket at Casey's, 3105 W Ave. in Burlington.

"When the numbers get up there, we've all done the 'what if' game," Buckner said. "You never know when our numbers are going to pop up again."

The winning numbers in the $80 million Powerball jackpot drawing on April 7 were 5-13-17-20-30 and Powerball 18. The Teachers won a $10,000 prize by matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball. Had they added the Power Play® to their ticket, The Teachers would have multiplied their win to $40,000.

There was no jackpot prize winner in the April 7 drawing. Wednesday's estimated jackpot is $173 million.

Players can increase their prizes with the Power Play (except the jackpot). The cost is $1 per play. Players who chose the Power Play prior to Jan. 15 and matched four white balls and the Powerball won a $10,000 prize multiplied by the number that was chosen for the Power Play. In the new $2 Powerball game, players who choose the Power Play and match four white balls and the Powerball win a $40,000 prize.

Winning numbers may be checked at the lottery website at or through the winning numbers' hot line at (515) 323-4633. Winning numbers may also be checked with lottery retail outlets or by calling the lottery at (515) 725-7900 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Players may visit the Iowa Lottery at 2323 Grand Ave. in Des Moines or go to one of the lottery's regional offices in Council Bluffs, Storm Lake, Mason City or Cedar Rapids to claim prizes.