RALEIGH – For Camelia McClain, a 39-year-old native of Raleigh, a week that began with disappointment ended with her collecting $4 million. The prize is one of the largest instant wins in N.C. Education Lottery history.

“I’ve always heard if it’s meant for you, it’s meant for you,” she said. “It’s still unbelievable.”

On Tuesday, McClain was coming to terms with her position of 22 years as a receptionist being eliminated. Just two days later, she stopped for gas at the Capital Food Mart on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. That’s where she decided to purchase two $20 tickets for the $4 Million Cash Blowout game.

“I played it because it was a new game,” she said.

McClain’s strategy paid off. One of the tickets made her the first top prize winner in the game, which launched Jan. 10 with three $4 million and seven $1 million prizes. As McClain collected her winnings Friday, she opted to claim the prize in annuity payments of $200,000 over a 20 year period. After taxes were withheld, she received her first check for $136,006.

Asked what she planned to do with her winnings, McClain emphasized the role her loved ones would play in the decision.

“We are a close-knit family,” she said. “We eat together on Sundays and we’re all going to get together and talk about it.”

Through June 30 of last year, Wake players won more than $277.6 million in lottery prizes and local retailers earned more than $37.3 million in commissions on ticket sales. During the same time frame, Wake County education programs received more than $145.8 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds.

To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.2 billion for these initiatives statewide.