ELIZABETHTOWN — Brenda Sellers has been an occasional player of the N.C. Education Lottery for years, but she’d never purchased a $10 ticket for the 50X The Cash scratch off.
Until April 2.
“I didn’t think I’d won anything,” said Sellers, who added that she hadn’t checked the winning numbers before having the ticket scanned at the Food Lion on West Broad Street, where she has worked for 11 years. “But when they checked it, I was told I’d won $1 million.”
Sellers, who is an assistant customer service representative for Food Lion, purchased the ticket at the store after her shift ended and said she was stunned and surprised that she’d won.
“I yelled right away, and started jumping up and down.” she said.
The newest million-dollar winner then called her sister to tell her the news — but she didn’t believe her.
“She thought I was playing some kind of April Fool’s Day joke,” Sellers said.
Sellers was given the option of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump sum, and after federal and state tax withholdings received $415,503. Sellers claimed her prize on April 5.
To celebrate her winning, Sellers said she plans to take a cruise with her sisters — probably to Jamaica.
It was the third top prize awarded by the N.C. Education Lottery through the 50X The Cash scratch off, and there are three $1 million prizes remaining.
Lottery facts in Bladen
— Bladen County has received more than $16,685,226 in lottery funds since inception of the lottery in March 2006. Last year, Bladen County received a total of $2,086,444.
— Bladen County has received more than $5,076,766 to help pay the salaries of 95 teachers in grades K-3.
— More than $3,999,313 raised by the lottery for school construction in Bladen County meets needs that otherwise would have to be paid for with local property taxes. Local officials decide how to spend the money.
— The N.C. Pre-K Program serves children at risk of falling behind their peers as they start kindergarten. More than $5,892,346 in lottery funds have paid for 1,257 four-year-olds in Bladen County to prepare for success.
— College students who qualify for federal Pell Grants in Bladen County have received 886 lottery scholarships. More than $937,399 in lottery funds have been used for tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies.
— Lottery funds have also supplied 1,046 grants to college students attending state universities within the UNC system who qualify for UNC need-based financial aid. Those students have used more than $321,513 to help pay for the cost of their education.
— For fiscal year 2015, a total of $348,000 in lottery funds were allocated to Bladen County to pay for the salaries of teachers’ assistants.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.