Commerce School Employees Win Lottery Twice

By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer

The first time it happened, everyone got a fresh start.

Becky Castro paid off her credit card debt and a couple of loans. Others used their money toward mortgage payments, a loved ones’ medical bills, and their children’s college tuition.

“If you spoke to each person, you’d get a different story,” said Castro, one of eleven Bandini Elementary school employees who won the $12 million SuperLotto Plus last February.

On Friday, most of those same employees, including Castro, claimed another win, this time a MEGA Millions prize worth $262,743.

The winning group of sixteen that won this time includes nine of the original winners. Most have been playing the lottery together for the past three years. The group consists of both full-time and part-time clerical workers and school administrators.

Montebello Unified School District employees discuss winning the California State Lottery on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ show. Front row, from left, Cris Guzman, Bertha DeLaCruz, Becky Castro. Second row, from left, retired Principal Karen Pugh, Karen Shahverdian, Principal Deanna Plascencia, Maria Argomaniz. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

“All of us in the group have a very positive outlook. Our saying is, ‘We’re in it to win it.’ After we won the first time, we just believed it, we felt it was going to happen again,” said Castro.

The winning ticket was sold at Arrow Liquor, located at 2177 South Atlantic Blvd. in Commerce. The ticket matched the numbers 48, 24, 51, 56 and 30, missing only the Mega number of 45.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Empleados Suertudos de una Escuela de Commerce Ganan la Lotería por Segunda Vez

Among the first time winners was School Principal Deanna Plascencia who said the generosity of the two-time winners was what brought them continued luck in the lottery.

She said after their first lottery win, the school employees used part of the winnings to purchase a new sound system to replace a failing one that amplified only half of what was being said.

The new sound system is now being used to hold assemblies for students who met monthly challenge goals, host special events and speakers, and spirit assemblies.

“The lottery winners are very generous people. When they win they give back. They believe if you give, you get,” she said. The employees are now deciding what they will buy next for the school.

Plascenci, a skeptic before joining the lottery pool, is now putting her faith in another lottery win for the school employees.

“Third time’s the charm and we’re hoping to do it again and do something even more special for the school,” she said.

The California Lottery is the state’s fundraiser for California schools, with more than 94 cents of every dollar spent by our players going toward public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation.

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January 12, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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