RALEIGH – Emily Stone, a physician assistant from the town of Denver in Lincoln County, has won the largest second-chance prize in N.C. Education Lottery history: $3 million.

“I’m just overjoyed,” Stone said when she found out she won. “This is an amazing prize.”

Second-chance drawings are a feature of some instant scratch-off games, allowing players to enter their non-winning tickets online for another chance to win. Stone’s winning entry was randomly selected from a total of 276,119 made in the Holiday Millions second-chance drawing, held on April 3.

Stone had the option of claiming the $3 million prize in annual installments of $150,000 over the next 20 years, or a one-time cash payment of $1.8 million. Stone took the cash option, worth $1,224,000 after taxes.

“I am going to pay off all my debt, that’s the first thing I’m going to do,” she said. “I may want to consider traveling some more.” Stone added that she planned to use a portion of her winnings to help family members.

Stone’s $3 million prize triples the previous second-chance record belonging to a Kernersville man. Rodney Queen won $1 million in the Carolina Gold second-chance drawing held in March of 2012.

The Holiday Millions game started Oct. 9 with three top prizes of $1 million that players could win instantly. Those $1 million winners are James Anderson of Raeford, Champakbhai Patel of Salisbury, and Teddy Williamson of Greensboro.

Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Lincoln County education programs received more than $17.1 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 $2.6 billion for these initiatives statewide.