RALEIGH – Phyllis Oakes, a resident of Stem in Granville County, took a break from playing Powerball and Mega Millions this week because she wanted to try a jackpot game with better odds. So on Tuesday, April 10, she decided to try her luck playing Carolina Cash 5. A few hours later, she found herself holding a ticket worth $208,794.
“When I saw I had matched all five numbers, I was speechless,” Oakes said. “I know people win the lottery every day, and I figured someone had to win this one. I just couldn’t believe it was me.”
She plans to use her winnings, worth $141,980 after taxes, to pay bills, help her family and save for the future. She purchased the winning Quick Pick ticket at Tommy’s Mini Mart on South Miami Boulevard in Durham.
“It is absolutely amazing to realize you’re a winner,” Oakes said as she held her check for the first time. “You can’t sleep. You keep thinking it’s a dream and that the numbers are going to change. It’s just unbelievable.”
Oakes said that the fact that the lottery helps education programs in the state is very important to her. This fiscal year, 52 percent of lottery dollars will go to pay for teacher salaries in grades K-3.
“I love that the teachers are being helped so much,” Oakes added. “They have the most important job there is, so we need to take care of them.”
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Granville County education programs received more than $10.8 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.2 billion for these initiatives statewide.