By ARDEN BASTIA October 26th started off like any other Monday for 7th grader Ainsley Ottilige, but quickly turned into a lucky day of winning. Ainsley is the first Feinstein Jr. Scholar student to be selected as a Feinstein Foundation Golden Ticket
October 26th started off like any other Monday for 7th grader Ainsley Ottilige, but quickly turned into a lucky day of winning.
Ainsley is the first Feinstein Jr. Scholar student to be selected as a Feinstein Foundation Golden Ticket winner. “I was pretty shocked, and I was one of the first ones to be called, so it feels pretty cool,” she said.
The Golden Ticket contest doesn’t lead to a chocolate factory or a lifetime supply of candy, but the prizes are still pretty sweet. Created by Alan Shawn Feinstein, the contest gives students across the state a chance to win $5,000 for their school, $500 for a non-profit organization of their choice, and a surprise gift from the foundation. Feinstein Jr. Scholar students received an individual numbered ticket, along with their Jr. Scholar Card. Students were instructed to keep an eye on the Feinstein Virtual Club and Facebook pages for the winning numbers, randomly drawn each Monday.
“This is an exceptionally interesting way of motivating students,” said Feinstein who is hopeful that the contest will remain popular enough to continue through the end of the current school year.
Distribution of the tickets was a challenge because of distance learning, but PTA President Sarah Theberge tackled the project. Theberge volunteered to prepare almost 1,200 Golden Tickets to distribute to Warwick Vets students via mail.
Ainsley chose to donate her winnings to The Tomorrow Fund, an organization that provides daily financial and emotional support for children with cancer and their families treated at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Ainsley said she chose the organization because she “[wants] to help those with cancer, and [doesn’t] want anyone to lose a loved one.”
Melissa Centracchio, interim principal at Warwick Vets, said in an interview the school is preparing something special for the students with the grant. While there are no definitive plans, Centracchio mentioned creating a celebration of students. “We’re thinking of designing special Vets shirts, or once we start returning to school, some kind of celebration within the rules and regulations that we have. Or we might wait until the end of the school year and have something that every student can benefit from and be celebrated.”
Centracchio also mentioned that if next week’s prize isn’t claimed, Warwick Veterans Middle School could receive an additional $5,000 grant. “We are especially proud of all our Feinstein Jr. Scholars for all their hard work, especially during this difficult time.”