As a tax preparer, April is a busy month for Leigh-Ann West. Now that the Roanoke Rapids woman is the first to win $1 million playing the lottery’s new Millionaire 7’s game, April is her lucky month, too.

West bought her $10 ticket Wednesday morning at the 10th Street Blue Flame on East 10th Street in Roanoke Rapids. She waited until her lunch break to scratch it off in her office.

Before revealing the prize amounts, West said she likes to scratch off each of the winning numbers and corresponding play space numbers. Although she didn’t match any, she noticed a special “7” symbol. Then she read the play instructions at the bottom of the ticket, which said she would instantly win the prize above the symbol – which she discovered was $1 million.

In shock, West called her mother.

“This can’t be real!” she said. “Mama, I think I won $1 million!”

Winners of $1 million in the game have the option of claiming it as a 20-year annuity in $50,000 payments or a one-time lump sum of $600,000.

West chose the cash payment. She said the after-tax winnings of $415,203 would allow her to pay off her truck and take a trip to Hawaii. West added that, with two kids going to college soon, she would put prize money toward their education.

The Millionaire 7’s game started April 1 with 10 top prizes of $1 million, eight prizes of $100,000, and many other prizes. With West’s win, nine top prizes remain to be claimed.

Ticket sales have made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $3.2 billion for education programs statewide. Net proceeds are used for prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction and need-based college scholarships and financial aid and digital learning.

For details on how more than $17.4 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Halifax County, click on the “Where the Money Goes” tab on the lottery’s website.