RALEIGH – Carroll Sears’ hope of one day winning a lottery jackpot came true Saturday night when he matched all five numbers in the Carolina Cash 5 drawing and won the jackpot of $357,664.

Sears, who works as a customer service specialist for a Wilmington retailer, said every week he buys $12 worth of Cash 5 tickets.

“I always hoped one of these days,” Sears said Wednesday as he collected his winnings. “It could have been $50,000. I did not have a clue how high it was.

It’s just something I hoped for. A man wants something to hope for, whether it’s good weather, health, a good job, or winning the lottery.”

Sears bought his lucky Quick Pick ticket at the Masonboro Country Store on Masonboro Loop Road in Wilmington. After taxes were withheld, he received $243,212.

Sears said he planned to pay off bills and pay down his mortgage. “I’d like to do something for my wife,” he added, “take a trip, of her choosing. But that will be down the road.”

As of September 2013, the lottery has raised more than $3 billion to support education programs. Lottery dollars support teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction and repair projects, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, college scholarships and financial aid based on need and digital learning initiatives.

To see how more than $41.2 million in lottery dollars have made a difference in New Hanover County, go to the Where the Money Goes webpage at http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/beneficiary.aspx.