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Stars help recognize Hero in Education

14 January 2008

ACRAMENTO, California -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- One star from an upcoming movie that serves as the idea behind the California Lottery's latest Scratchers® game, helped recognize the Lottery's "Hero in Education" during "The Big Spin®" show airing statewide January 12, 2008.

Actor Roger Cross, who appears in Mad Money, along with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes presented the award to a real star of education, Sharnae Lewis.

The movie, Mad Money, premieres in theaters next week. Lewis premieres as the Lottery's "Hero in Education" after proving to be a star-attraction to young students in Claremont. Lewis, a high school senior, volunteers as a teacher's assistant at Vista Del Valle Elementary School helping 2nd-graders with their reading and math skills. In the time she has worked with the students, the students have shown marked improvement. Lewis uses her age to relate to students and help them learn. She feels that being young and volunteering plays a big part in gaining the trust of the students and making them feel more comfortable with her. What really makes Lewis feel best is the idea that she is making a difference in the future of 2nd-grade scholars at Vista Del Valle.

Lewis' high school counselor says she's a good student, has great attendance and holds a part-time job. In addition, she volunteers at her own school and donates her time to Hurricane Relief. Lewis is getting an early lesson in the joys of volunteering and is a young person from whom many of us can learn about giving back.

What inspired such a young lady to help others? Lewis explains, "I enjoyed reading and writing and that was a really big thing for me. But when I visited the school and so many of the students couldn't read or write well, I was very shocked. I can help the students, because I know how it feels and … I can get on their level and help out."

The California Lottery's "Hero in Education" award has been presented monthly on The Big Spin show since 1999. The Lottery presents these awards to recognize special individuals who volunteer time and resources to their schools and communities.

More than 95 cents of every Lottery dollar is returned to the community in the form of contributions to education, prizes and retail commissions. The California Lottery contributes at least 34 cents of every dollar that players spend on Lottery products to public education and returns more than 50 percent of sales to players in the form of prizes. Since its inception in 1985, the Lottery has contributed more than $20 billion to California schools out of total sales of more than $54.8 billion. Retailers win too, earning $3.5 billion in compensation since 1985.

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