RALEIGH – Lori Ayers, a preschool teacher supervisor from Hope Mills in Cumberland County, is the winner of a $141,975 Carolina Cash 5 jackpot. Her husband Curtis purchased the winning ticket at the Kangaroo Express on South Main Street in Hope Mills less than an hour before the April 17 drawing. The ticket matched all five numbers to win the jackpot.
“It’s kind of surreal because you always see winners with the big check,” Lori Ayers said as she collected the winnings at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After receiving her check, worth $96,543 after taxes, she said the Ayers family had some plans for the prize money.
“I always said I’d take a cruise,” she said. “And then, you know, pay off things we owe so we can breathe a little easier.”
Ayers said she has worked with preschoolers for 15 years in Cumberland County. Prekindergarten programs are one of four North Carolina education initiatives supported by lottery funds. Through June 30 of last year, lottery funds paid for more than 5,200 at-risk four-year-olds to attend prekindergarten in Cumberland County. By law, lottery funds also pay for teacher’s salaries in grades K-3, school construction, and need-based college scholarships.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.2 billion for these initiatives statewide.