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

Tracy Ortiz holding $1,500 Excellence in Education checkA Wayne County educator known for valuing and encouraging inquisitiveness has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Tracy Ortiz, is a sixth-grade science teacher with Detroit 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 Ortiz will air this evening.

Ortiz credits a high school teacher for inspiring her to pursue a career in education.

“A teacher I had in high school inspired me to become a teacher. She was a teacher that I looked up to, and who always encouraged me to do my best. I was able to participate in a variety of activities with her encouragement and support. This teacher looked out for me and many other students, and we knew that she truly cared about each one of us. Our teacher set an example by genuinely caring for us.  This teacher made a difference in my life, and in turn, I would like to pay it forward. My students keep me going.”

Ortiz says using project-based learning is one of her favorite activities to do with students.

“In my class my students are offered many opportunities to engage in several challenging projects throughout the school year. Project-based learning also allows students to demonstrate leadership and perseverance within the classroom, and in all the extra-curricular activities that we participate in outside of class. Taking students outdoors to learn and having our schoolyard pollinator garden that they planted as the center of our outdoor classroom offers numerous learning experiences for my students.  I have also trained students in water quality testing through the Rouge Education Project while making connections with content in the science curriculum. This project works with schools to engage students in the stewardship of the Rouge River which is a river that runs through the watershed in which our school is located. Students gather water samples from the Rouge River to measure water quality using scientific assessments. After applying authentic testing techniques, students gather and record data identifying variable chemical changes in the water quality of the collected samples. Students identify and classify benthic macro-invertebrates as they sort through creatures harvested from the river bottom. This hands-on experience opens a new world of awareness and scientific inquiry on the health of local rivers. Outdoor and environmental education provides the opportunity for children to learn by doing.”

A colleague nominated Ortiz for the award. The nomination cited her dedication and enthusiasm for science education.

“Tracy Ortiz is one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic science educators that I know. She has made it her mission to ensure that every one of her students enjoys an authentic, three-dimensional learning experience in her classroom, where their inquisitiveness is not only valued, but encouraged. Mrs. Ortiz motivates her students to become independent and innovative thinkers, while allowing them to explore their natural world and begin solving the problems of tomorrow. Mrs. Ortiz has a sincere passion for educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and citizens who will change the world. She coaches, manages, and facilitates award-winning teams in STEM enrichment programs such as SeaPerch Underwater Robotics, Destination Imagination, Metro Detroit Science and Engineering Fair (DAPCEP), and Ecoworks. It is her goal is to extend learning beyond the classroom and provide experiences that will shape the future of her students. Not only does Tracy inspire her students, but she also motivates her colleagues to make the necessary pedagogical shifts towards creating NGSS aligned, three-dimensional learning environments across our District. Tracy regularly assists the DPSCD Office of Science in promoting the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards by participating in curriculum initiatives, co-facilitating professional developments, and serving as a mentor to other science teachers.”

Ortiz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit and a master’s degree from Wayne State University. She has been an educator for 23 years, 19 in her current position.

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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Genesee County Man Wins $150,000 Powerball Prize from the Michigan Lottery

Powerball LogoA Genesee County man describes winning a $150,000 Powerball prize as a “huge relief.”

Avery Williams, of Burton, matched four white balls and the Powerball – 28-45-53-56-69 PB:20 – in the Nov. 5 drawing to win a $50,000 prize. Thanks to the Power Play, the prize was multiplied to $150,000. He bought his winning ticket online at MichiganLottery.com.

“I’d never played Powerball before, but I decided to purchase some tickets when the jackpot got over $1 billion,” said Williams. “I was getting ready for work the morning after the drawing and remembered I had to check my tickets. I logged in to my Lottery account and knew I’d won big as soon as I saw my account balance. I couldn’t believe it!”

Williams, 27, recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim his prize. With his winnings, he plans to invest and remodel his home.

“Winning is a huge relief and will allow me to do things I otherwise would not have been able to,” said Williams.

The Powerball jackpot was last won on Nov. 19. One ticket bought in Kansas won the $93 million jackpot. The current jackpot stands at $56 million.

Powerball plays may be purchased for $2 each at Lottery retailers across the state and online at MichiganLottery.com. 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. For an additional $1 per play, Double Play may be added to a Powerball ticket, giving players a second chance to win up to $10 million in the nightly Double Play drawing.

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

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Oakland County Man Wins $100,000 Playing the Michigan Lottery’s $300,000,000 Diamond Riches Second Chance Game

Winner graphicAn Oakland County man who unknowingly entered the Michigan Lottery’s $300,000,000 Diamond Riches Second Chance game won the game’s $100,000 top prize.

The lucky player, who chose to remain anonymous, won $100,000 after he was selected in a random drawing that took place on Nov. 12. He earned entries into the giveaway by scanning non-winning $300,000,000 Diamond Riches tickets on the Michigan Lottery app.

“I scan all my tickets on the Lottery app to double check them, but I didn’t realize that by scanning my $300,000,000 Diamond Riches tickets, I was entering a second chance giveaway,“ said the 35-year-old player. “I woke up one morning to a missed call from a Lansing number and figured it was a scam call, so I didn’t think much of it. I checked my emails before starting my day and saw I had an email from the Lottery notifying me of the prize. I did some researching and found that the Lottery headquarters is in Lansing, so I decided to call the number back.

“When a Lottery employee explained what I’d won and how I’d won it, I couldn’t believe it! You always read stories about big Lottery winners, but you never think you’ll be one of them. It is such a surreal feeling!”

The player recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim the big prize. With his winnings, he plans to pay bills and save the remainder.

The tenth and final $300,000,000 Diamond Riches second chance drawing took place on Nov. 16. Each drawing awarded:

  • One winner of $100,000
  • Five winners of $10,000
  • Twenty winners of $1,000
  • Sixty winners of $500

Players may visit MichiganLottery.com to view the $300,000,000 Diamond Riches second chance winners.

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Michigan Lottery Offices Closed in Observance of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving GraphicIn observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing and all Lottery regional offices located in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Livonia, Saginaw, and Sterling Heights will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24 and 25.

All regularly scheduled drawings will take place on Thursday and Friday.

The bank claim centers that the Michigan Lottery has teamed up with may have office hours on Thursday and Friday, however, they will not be able to process claims, because the Lottery offices will be closed.

All Lottery offices will reopen on Monday at 7:45 a.m.

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St. Clair County Woman Wins $264,838 Super Lucky 7’s Fast Cash Jackpot

Winning Super Lucky 7s ticketLuck struck twice for a St. Clair County woman who won her second big prize from the Michigan Lottery within five years.

The lucky 58-year-old player who chose to remain anonymous, bought her winning Super Lucky 7’s Fast Cash ticket at Ray’s Market, located at 1801 Richman Road in Smiths Creek. Smiths Creek is about 12 miles southwest of Port Huron.

“I don’t play Fast Cash too often, but I had been purchasing several tickets since the jackpot was high,” said the player. “I purchased a few tickets while I was at the store and was bummed when I realized someone had won the big jackpot the day before.

“I scanned my tickets right away and got a message to file a claim on one of them. When I looked it over and realized what I’d won, I was shocked!

“In 2017, I won a $4 million prize on a $30 instant ticket, so I couldn’t believe I had won again! I didn’t have as crazy of a reaction as I did when I won $4 million, but it was still an amazing feeling.”

The player recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim her prize. She plans to save her winnings.

Fast Cash games are a series of instant-win games that print from terminals at Lottery retailers. Fast Cash tickets range in price from $2 per play up to $20 per play.

Fast Cash games offer a progressive jackpot that can be won instantly. Every Fast Cash ticket gives players a chance to win all or part of the progressive jackpot.

All of the Fast Cash games feed into one jackpot, which grows with every ticket purchased. The current jackpot amount prints on each ticket, so players always know the amount of the jackpot up for grabs. The jackpot may be won at any time. As soon as the jackpot is hit, a new one starts to grow.

Available Fast Cash games are:

  • Wild Time Progressive – Each $2 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $2 up to $500 and 20 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • 20X The Cash – Each $5 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $5 up to $2,500 and 50 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Diamond Wild Time Progressive – Each $5 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $5 up to $3,000 and 50 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Money Match – Each $5 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $5 up to $4,000 and 50 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Mega Money Match – Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $5,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Doubler Wild Time Progressive – Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $6,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Jackpot Slots – Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $5,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Lucky 7s – Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $4,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot.
  • Super Lucky 7s – Each $20 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $20 up to $9,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot, plus $250,000.
  • Jumbo Jackpot Slots – Each $20 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $20 up to $10,000 and 100 percent of the Fast Cash progressive jackpot plus $250,000.

Fast Cash prizes never sell out and there is no waiting for a drawing as all games are played immediately.

In 2021, players won more than $54 million playing Fast Cash games.

Fast Cash games may be purchased at 10,500 retailers across the state.

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