If I Won…

As I drove to church choir practice tonight, I passed a giant billboard for the Powerball.

$999 million, it said.

And even though I’ve never bought a ticket, my mind couldn’t help but start thinking about what I’d spend that $999 million on.

First, I’d hire a lawyer. I figure I’d lose half of it to taxes. So I started playing with $500 million.

I’d take $50 million and set up trusts–$5 million for each niece and nephew.

Then I’d take whatever it would cost to replace all the equipment in my journalism department and do that. I’d set a cap at $5 million–putting whatever is leftover into a trust or endowment to replace the equipment at least two more times.

I’d pay off my parents and both sisters’ houses, and then I’d buy all of them, and my brother, and myself, brand new custom-built houses. I figure I could do all of that for $20 million or so.

I’d donate $10 million to the Lydia House, a charity in Omaha that helps battered women.

Of course I’d pay off all my debts, a drop in the bucket when playing around with $500 million.

I think that takes me to under $100 million.

What would I do with the rest?

I’d go back to that lawyer and say, “Help me build a school. An arts school.”

I’d hire my friend A.J. to run the vocal department, my other friend A.J. to run the instrumental. I’d ask my friend Dave if he’d like to start a dance studio, and I’d hire a former student, Aaron, to run a photography program.

I’d convince my friend Marya to run a theatre program, Stueve to run a creative writing program, and I would take journalism.

I’d hire my friend Angie to teach math, Nikki and Amy to tackle English. And we would invite more of our friends to cover the subjects we need. School would start at 9 a.m., with an hour lunch, and end at 3 p.m.

The school would be application-based, and we would have a pretty hard line for when we expelled students who were falling short of expectations.

Oh, the expectations? Love learning. Be humble. Be teachable. Create art.

My dream school is what I’d do with the remaining $400 million.

All these things occupied my mind for the 15 minutes it took to drive to choir practice, and I have to say…

I kinda want to buy a Powerball ticket.

4 Comments

  1. Same! I’m pretty in love with the school where I teach now, but it’s a private school, so I’d throw as much money at it as would be needed to make it tuition-free in perpetuity. Then sizable gifts to the school district where I grew up, the school I started at in New York City, and the charter school I taught at a few years ago. Hard not to fantasize about all of that.

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