11 Lehighton school employees win $3.2M in lottery
A group of Lehighton Area School District employees, like many who play the lottery on a regular basis, had gotten used to minimal success.
Having played for two years, the largest amount the group had won on any single ticket was $78.
That all changed last Thursday night, when 11 LASD employees, who call themselves the “Lucky Lehighton Ladies,” hit the Pennsylvania Lottery Match 6 jackpot for $3.2 million.
“I just didn’t believe it when I checked the numbers online that night,” said Karla Costenbader-Kovach, who purchased the ticket the day before at Giant Food Store in Lehighton. “I had my son, who is in eighth grade, double check it and we started yelling, but I had to be careful because I realized we were alone there with this ticket and I didn’t want anyone outside to hear us. I was really surprised it was $3.2 million because the Match 6 jackpot isn’t usually that high.”
The winning group is comprised of four Lehighton teachers, two cafeteria workers and five paraprofessionals. With Friday being an in-service day in the district, the group got together and went in three different vehicles to a lottery office Allentown to sign official forms.
“It was a little chaotic at the beginning because we had some people who wanted to get a lawyer and some who just wanted to take the ticket in right away,” Kovach said. “In the end, we didn’t get a lawyer involved because that would have taken away some of the winnings from everyone.”
After taxes, the winners are figuring on taking home between $180,000 and $190,000 each, although that figure has yet to be finalized. For Kovach, there won’t be any lavish vacations as she describes herself as more of a “homebody.”
“I’m going to invest some of it and maybe do some home improvements,” she said.
As for the rest of the group, they also plan to “play it smart.”
“One of them said she plans on taking her granddaughter on vacation and we have one who is already retiring so that will be nice.”
Each person in the lottery pool chipped in $5 per week with any winnings being rolled over for more tickets. They didn’t always play the Match 6, Kovach said, but found they were winning, albeit small totals, more often with that game.
With any group lottery winning story comes a tale of heartbreak and it’s no different for the LASD crew.
“We had four people who had originally played with us who dropped out,” Kovach said. “I know one was pretty heartbroken, but all of them were very happy for us. There were absolutely no hard feelings. We all work together and it’s a great group.”
The group plans to take a break from the lottery pool, but Kovach said she plans to keep playing on her own.
“I’ll use some of my winnings to keep playing,” she said. “You never know what will happen.”