RALEIGH – A few weeks ago, Joseph Graybeal of West Jefferson bought a ticket for the Aces High instant game at Mike’s Community Mart on Beaver School Road. He scratched off the ticket right there in the store – and won the top prize of $150,000.

Graybeal signed the winning ticket and kept it in a safe until Friday morning when he made the trip to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to collect his winnings.

“I wasn’t in a hurry,” the native of North Carolina said. “It’s nice, that’s all I can say.”

Graybeal is self-employed as a vinyl siding and home repair mechanic. He planned to use a portion of his prize money, totaling $102,001 after taxes, to pay off his home mortgage.

As of Friday morning, two top prizes of $150,000 remain unclaimed in the Aces High game.

Ticket sales for games such as Aces High have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.58 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Ashe County education programs received more than $6.6 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.