Meet the 76 Powerball Winners of New Jersey’s Clifton Elementary School

By Lizzie Thompson | January 14, 2016

Photo: Getty Images
Fifth time's the charm?
The staff of Clifton Elementary School Number 14 in Clifton, New Jersey, surely thinks so.
As the Powerball jackpot soared beyond $500 million in recent weeks, 76 Clifton employees joined forces to start a pool (one of several formed among the 115-person staff). For four drawings, the pool wasn’t so lucky, but it was during the fifth drawing Wednesday night that their perseverance paid off.
With $1.5 billion on the line, the Clifton crew went with the quick pick and guessed the Powerball correctly — along with four of the five drawn numbers.
Though they were missing a pesky number “8” in their bid to win the whole enchilada, reports the five numbers left the teachers with an unexpected windfall of $50,000. Divided 76 ways, that’s $657.89 per person, before taxes.
Not quite a billion bucks. But still awfully exciting.
“We did win!” Principal Paul Galello exclaimed when The Seventy Four reached him Thursday afternoon. “We got four of the five, and the Powerball.”
Though he leads the school, Galello says he wasn’t in charge of keeping track of the tickets. “Tina Roberts, the lunch supervisor, kept the records,” he said. “I didn’t even know we had won until 9 or 10 this morning.”
Talk about a happy lunchroom.
School nurse Dianne Nicolette spoke to about the win, saying “It’s like found money. Everybody is very happy.”
Galello echoed that practicality, saying the students didn’t seem to know, and none of the lotto winners rushed off to Atlantic City. “Although the win was nice, there was no mass exodus.”
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