Calhoun County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Brandi GillsonA Calhoun County educator known for being a strong female role model for her students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Brandi Gillson, is a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Ann J. Kellogg Elementary, which is part of Battle Creek Public Schools.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring Gillson will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Gillson said a college assignment led her to a career in education.

“I did a project at my community college and it required me to go back to my elementary school to interview someone. Once I got in the hallways again, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I had so many excellent teachers throughout my schooling, that I wanted to be that for a child someday.”

She said witnessing the moment a student figures out something new is her favorite part of being an educator.

“Watching the lightbulb go off when the students finally understand something is my favorite part of being an educator. Years later, when I see or hear from one of my students and they share something from when they had me as a teacher that they loved also is very rewarding for me.”

Gillson’s former mentor, Bob Egelkraut, nominated her for the award. The nomination cited her dedication to her students and willingness to go above and beyond for them.

“Brandi’s unique style makes her approachable for staff, students and parents alike. She takes time to understand the child and build relationships with each. She is a strong female role model who reminds kids what a good education can do for them in the near future. She has gone beyond and above the average classroom teacher.

Brandi has worked primarily in urban settings throughout her teaching career. She provides supplemental materials for her class. She has raised thousands of dollars using Go Fund Me to make her classes melt into learning. She has used these funds for ordering at home reading materials, additional science experiment materials and even health products for maturing young people. If there is a way to reach a child, she has done it using her extraordinary strategies. Her loud, loving personality gives her “My Favorite Teacher” status year after year.

Throughout her career Brandi has participated on district and building level committees as well as union negotiating teams. She is the district go to person for teachers trying to understand continually changing curriculums in Math and Science. Brandi has organized Parent Night and Love of Learning Nights for families to come to school and understand and participate in what their children are learning. She has the respect of not only her colleagues, moreover, the parents and the neighborhood that she is a part of. Parents and students can contact her at any time of day, or night. She maintains contacts with literally hundreds of past students and parents through social media and takes time to encourage and mentor.

Many urban educators survive each day in the classroom, she thrives on positive energy and ensures her students education is the way to a successful life.”

Gillson earned a bachelor’s degree from Olivet College and master’s degree from Western Michigan University. She has been an educator for 26 years, all of them with Battle Creek Public Schools.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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Michigan Lottery Recognizes Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March

March is Problem Gambling Awareness month and the Michigan Lottery has joined the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) to help increase public awareness of problem gambling and highlight the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services in the state of Michigan.

As Problem Gambling Awareness Month begins, Lottery continues to remind players that the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline is available to provide free, one-on-one support for players who may have a problem. For confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, players may call 800-270-7117. Chat and text options also are available through

Each year, the Lottery provides $1 million to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to fund statewide education and treatment programs for problem gambling. Additionally, the Lottery’s online services include enhanced responsible gaming resources including:

  • A variety of self-exclusion periods
  • Daily and weekly deposit Limits
  • Age verification at account registration
  • Play history to monitor gaming activity

You may learn more about the warning signs of problem gaming, here:

Since its inception in 1972, the Lottery has been committed to promoting responsible gaming to players across the state. In 2015, the Michigan Lottery became the first lottery in the United States to receive Internet Compliance Assessment Program (iCAP) certification from the NCPG for its commitment to responsible online gaming. Michigan Lottery has also received the Responsible Gaming Verification (RG Verification) certification from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the NCPG. Select the following links to learn more about the iCAP program or RG Verification program.

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Jackson Man Wins $1 Million Powerball Prize

A Jackson man plans on taking care of his family after winning a $1 million Powerball prize.

Anthony Treciak, 54, matched the five white balls – 04-19-23-25-49 – in the Jan. 13 drawing to win a $1 million prize. He bought his winning ticket at the Kroger store, located at 1100 West Argyle Street in Jackson.

“I don’t play Powerball often, but decided to purchase a ticket since the jackpot was so high,” said Treciak. “I was checking my ticket the afternoon after the drawing and couldn’t believe it when I saw I had matched five numbers. I was in complete shock.”

Treciak visited Lottery headquarters to claim his prize. With his winnings, he plans to take care of his family and purchase a new car.

Powerball plays may be purchased for $2 each at Lottery retailers across the state and online at A “Power Play” option that multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to 10 times to a maximum of $2 million may be added to any Powerball play for only $1.

The Powerball drawing takes place at 10:59 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday and may be watched live online at: Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

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Saginaw County Woman Wins $500,000 Playing the Michigan Lottery’s $500 Fever Instant Game

A stop for gas paid off for a Saginaw County woman who won $500,000 playing the Michigan Lottery’s $500 Fever instant game.

The lucky player, who chose to remain anonymous, bought her winning ticket at the Conlee Travel Center, located at 9180 Birch Run Road in Birch Run.

“I stopped to get gas on my way to work and decided to buy a Lottery ticket while I was there,” said the 40-year-old player. “I scratched the ticket once I got in my car and couldn’t believe it when I saw I had won $500,000. I’m still in shock.”

The lucky player visited Lottery headquarters to claim her prize. With her winnings, she plans to purchase a house and a new car.

Players have won more than $16 million playing $500 Fever, which launched in August. Each $5 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $5 up to $500,000. More than $14 million in prizes remain, including two $500,000 top-prizes and 6,656 $500 prizes.

Lottery instant games may be purchased at 10,500 retailers across the state.

In 2019, Lottery players won more than $1.2 billion playing instant games.

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Wayne County Woman Wins $25,000 a Year for Life Playing Lucky For Life

A Wayne County woman is looking forward to a good life after winning $25,000 a year for life playing the Michigan Lottery’s Lucky For Life game.

Diane Newman, of New Boston, matched the five white balls drawn Dec. 21 – 03-32-35-38-40 – to win the big prize. She bought her winning ticket at the Circle K gas station, located at 1330 Monroe St. in Carleton.

“I used to buy Lottery tickets for my husband and I, but since he retired, he’s been buying them,” said Newman. “We like to play a little bit of everything together.

“We checked our ticket the morning after the drawing and we couldn’t believe we had won! We are still shocked, but it’s a big relief for us.

Newman visited Lottery headquarters to claim her big prize. She chose to receive a one-time lump sum payment of about $390,000, rather than annual payments of $25,000 for 20 years or life, whichever is greater.

With her winnings, she plans to share with family and take a vacation.

“Winning means I can slow down with work and enjoy life with my husband,” said Newman.

For just $2 per play, Lucky For Life gives Lottery players a chance to win prizes ranging from $3 to a lifetime of cash. To win the game’s top prize of $1,000 a day for life, players must match all five winning numbers ranging from 1 to 48, plus one Lucky Ball ranging from 1 to 18. Players who match all five winning numbers, but not the Lucky Ball, will win $25,000 a year for life. Lucky For Life drawings take place every Monday and Thursday at 10:35 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Lottery retailers across the state.

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