RALEIGH – Tanicia Garris, a bank teller from Durham, said that she’s cashed and deposited the checks of lottery winners for years. Today, she will make a big deposit of her own after winning the $100,000 top prize in the Mega Bucks game.
“I see winners come in all the time,” Garris said. “It’s surreal to finally have a big check of my own. I’ve always wondered if it would happen to me, and today I get to stand on the other side of the counter.“
Garris purchased the winning ticket at the Wilco on West Third Street in Ayden in Pitt County while visiting family. She was with her father when she realized she had won the game’s top prize.
“I had to do a double take,” Garris said. “I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t think it could be real.”
Garris plans to use her winnings, worth $68,001 after taxes were withheld, to help her family and take a trip to Georgia.
“I’m in a good position now to give back to those who raised me,” Garris said as she wiped away what she described to be tears of joy. As of Wednesday afternoon, two more top prizes of $100,000 remain to be claimed in the Mega Bucks game.
“The first thing I think of when I buy tickets is that the money spent goes to education,” Garris added as she held her check for the first time. “Even when I don’t win, I know I’m doing my part. But now I’ve won. It’s real and I thank you.”
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Durham County education programs received more than $40.1 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.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.35 billion for these initiatives statewide.