The Idaho Lottery hosted the 21st annual Scratch for Schools event at the Idaho State University Pond Student Union building Thursday. It’s a program that has returned over $1.4 million to benefit public education in Idaho.

Parents, teachers, principals, and staff members from 53 schools had five minutes to scratch as many tickets as they could.

During the event, each of the schools competed for the title of fastest scratching school and won cash for their classroom or school needs. Each participating school received an entire pack of scratch tickets. The fastest scratching schools won additional prizes and advanced to a final round. 

David Workman, the Idaho Lottery spokesman says that this event has many benefits.

“Scratch for schools is one of those programs that is really specifically designed to benefit education and to really benefit teachers,” explains Workman, “at the end of the day it benefits the students as well. It is also an opportunity for me and the lottery and our employees to interact with our primary beneficiaries which is public education and public educators.”

Strategy was a common theme of the night. Each school had their own way of scratching as many tickets as possible. Sydnee Hale, a sixth grade science and math teacher at Snake River Middle school in Blackfoot has attended the event for 11 years now, and is excited each year to attend the event.

“It is even just a little bit of spending money for our classrooms,” says Hale, “the big check we get to take home we put in the window of the office and all of the kids are pretty excited. I showed my class today previous years pictures and I promised that I would take a video because they wanted to know how many and how fast I could scratch. So, I told my class this year that I would video tape myself on how fast I went.”

The total winnings of the night added up to a total of $10,504, with Wilcox Elementary school in Pocatello taking first place.

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