After 40 years in the classroom, she got a great surprise on her last day as a teacher

Posted at 5:33 PM, May 26, 2023

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — Thousands of Virginia teachers recently received a thank you note in the Virginia Lottery's Thank a Teacher campaign. But one lucky teacher at Swift Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County got that and a whole lot more.

Joanne Stanley is an English and gifted education teacher at Swift Creek Middle School in Midlothian. Her name was drawn from nearly 7,000 entries submitted by teachers who entered a code on special thank-you notes from the Virginia Lottery.

They surprised Stanley on Friday by letting her know she’d won a Virginia-themed vacation, a $250 gift card, and that $2,500 worth of school supplies would be donated to her school from The Supply Room.

"One of my students; I taught his mother,” Ms. Stanley said as she looked back on her 37-year teaching career. “I'm teaching multiple students in a family. Brothers and sisters. And it's been wonderful. It's been a wonderful career. I was meant to do it. I was meant to be a teacher."

What makes this even sweeter? This is Ms. Stanley's last day of teaching before retiring.

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