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Retired Wake County teacher celebrates news of $1 million win with champagne toast

June 11, 2021 Posted by NC Lottery at 2:19 PM

Teresa Saunders of Rolesville still can’t believe her luck after finding out she had won $1 million in the first Millionaire Maker Second-Chance drawing.

I’m so excited, I don’t believe it,” she recalled. “I’m just so thrilled and I’m speechless.”

The thrill began with a phone call Wednesday afternoon as Saunders was at Party City, shopping for her granddaughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party the next day.

“I started crying in the store!” she said. “All I thought was, ‘I have to get to my car right now!’”

Her entry was chosen from over 1,319,154 entries in Wednesday’s Millionaire Maker second-chance drawing. Winners of second-chance drawings receive a phone call or email notifying them that they won.

“You know, I’ve always said, ‘the only way I’ll ever be a millionaire is if I won the lottery!’” said Saunders. “So, I went home, I fixed me a glass of champagne, and I sat down on the porch. I think I sat there until about 9:30 last night!”

Saunders claimed her prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. Saunders had the choice of taking the $1 million as an annuity of 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the $600,000 lump sum and after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $424,500.

Saunders, a retired literacy coach with the Wake County Public School System, said she plans to take a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, live a comfortable retirement, and help her children and grandchildren have a good life.

“It’s a comfortable feeling,” she said.

Two more Millionaire Maker second-chance drawings remain. Each drawing offers one $1 million grand prize, one $100,000 prize, and 20 $500 prizes. To enter the next drawing, enter your Millionaire Maker tickets via the lottery’s website or scan the ticket’s bar code using the NC Lottery Official Mobile App, like Saunders did.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games like Millionaire Maker make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $725 million per year for education. For details on how $62.8 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Wake County in 2020, visit and click on the “Impact” section.


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6/19/2021 02:24 - Charles H.

John J. If you're a retired Postal Worker or School Teacher and are from Wake County then your odds winning are far greater than anyone elses.

6/16/2021 08:50 - Denver G.


6/15/2021 09:38 - Linda J.

Where was the ticket purchased at what city, town, store? Where?NC Lottery
Hi Linda, for Second Chance drawings, when the player enters their ticket into the system, the entry is converted into a random number so that there cannot be any player bias during the winner selection. This player did not choose to disclose where she purchased her ticket during the interview process, and it is possible that she had multiple entries from various locations. Sorry about that.

6/15/2021 07:39 - Mary H.

Congratulations :)

6/15/2021 08:54 - Denver G.

Good morning moderators. I asked on another blog, but never got an answer. Maybe I forgot to hit send. When I won a little prize in 2013 there was only about 100k-200k members. How many members are there in the current Lucky Zone/Players Club???NC Lottery
Hi Denver, sorry for the wait. We did receive your question and I had to forward it to another department because I don't have direct access to that information. I will pass along the answer as soon as I receive it. Thank you for your patience.

6/15/2021 08:26 - Denver G.

MICHAEL- I hit the pic4 for $2500 once & $5000 three times but it's been a couple yrs since I hit. Good luck to you.

6/15/2021 02:55 - Tina S.

I'm trying to learn how to play second chance lottery, and don't know which cards is second chanceNC Lottery
Hi Tina, we're so happy that you are interested in our Second Chance drawings! The tickets should clearly state on the front if they are eligible for a Second Chance drawing. Once you've purchased a Second Chance ticket, just sign in to your NC Lottery account and then enter your ticket using the ticket entry link or using our app. Here's a link to enter your tickets: Good luck!

6/14/2021 07:23 - Michael B.

Denver- you hit that 5k lucky for life ??? Or was on pick 4?

6/14/2021 03:10 - Denver G.

@ JEFF H. This win was from a 2nd chance drawing! Whether her or you or me have 5 or 50 entries , they assign a # from the RNG. No way of saying which ticket produced the winning #. She could have bought all her tickets from the same place or several places over a long period of time.

6/14/2021 02:36 - DL H.

@ Denver. Excellent memory! Yes, that was us. I truly think it's just one of those things. One never knows when they will win but it's fun to play and as long as it stays fun it's OK :-). Many here are not having fun. Its sad to see. I hope you catch a big win soon my friend you truly keep us laughing! Have a great day

6/14/2021 11:49 - likissa s.

I give up I been playing for years. Congrats!

6/14/2021 10:38 - Jeff H.

Where is my comment I left?

6/14/2021 10:36 - Jeff H.

Interesting for sure! I also thought you are notified by email!!! ???? This Reply was for Jeremy A. Good Question Jeremy! Response to Linda J. Your question is interesting as well! The NC lottery knows where the ticket was sold, and they simply say that Teresa did not disclose where she bought the ticket? Haha! The NC Lottery knows where and when the ticket was sold! Funny stuff for sure!! Anyway, good luck to all the lucky ones who get chosen.... Good Day!

6/14/2021 08:32 - Denver G.

Hey DL H. congrats on your 2 wins. If I remember right it was just a couple years ago, 500 & 10k. the wins were only a few months apart. I did not begrudge you then nor now and hope you have a 3rd & a 4th win. My only win was a small weekly drawing in spring of 2013. I am ready for another and another and another.

6/14/2021 08:15 - yvonne f.

Congrats! But I have a question about the Gem mine game in the earn section of the app. It doesn't work. It freezes up the app.NC Lottery
Hi Yvonne, sorry about that. Usually when this is happening it means that you need to update to the newest version of the app. If you have already done so, and the Gem Mine game still isn't working, you might try reaching out to our support team for help. They are available 24/7 to assist.

6/13/2021 09:29 - DL H.

@ Denver :-).LOL You never disappoint when a good laugh is needed. We love your comments!!

6/13/2021 07:29 - Denver G.

Don't feel sorry for me rookie. I am doing fine enjoying early retirement. I have had more then my share of $1000 & $5000 on draw and scratch . Just cracks me up when members say "I should have won by now".

6/13/2021 06:18 - DL H.

Hello To everyone. We're 2nd Chance winners from awhile back. We're very lucky to havevwon a large win and a smaller win Happy for all wins. It really is by pure chance. One game we only has a single entry (its true). Its easy to think something is up but it truly is random. Just hang in there. Have fun and you could be next. Check your SPAM mail. Even with correct settings we almost missed the email has we not checked the SPAM email folder although NCEL will follow up other ways but remember most important you should be having fun playing not getting angry playing :-). We do agree the Cash 3 snafu should have paid both numbers but outside of that. Play away and have fun :-)

6/13/2021 11:48 - Melvin C.

congrats i play all the time and still havent won anything

6/13/2021 11:25 - Rashand M.

So it’s really not based on how many entries you have, it’s based on weather or not the RNG picks your number? NC Lottery
Hi Rashand, the Random Number Generator assigns each entry a random number and then picks one of the random numbers.The more entries you make into a drawing, the more chances you have to win! But having even just one entry in a drawing gives you a chance to win. We hope this is helpful information.

6/13/2021 09:15 - linda p.

Congratulations may you and your family always b Blessed. Enjoy your retirement

6/13/2021 03:20 - Tim M.

LZ, I want to ask something about the RNG. I used to enter a LOT of free drawings online, usually called sweepstakes, not those poker machines but simply random drawings. Some were from actual sponsors you recognize, others were from blogs and websites and such. Very often it's for smaller prizes like gift cards, food, DVD's, etc. I've won a number of prizes like this. Facebook and other social media also have drawings. Anyway, as I understood from the blogs, they used to generate winning numbers corresponding with whoever is drawn. My point? Even if there were hundreds of thousands of entries, the winning would often be VERY LOW, like 1053 or something. I can wonder how is this fair. What if I didn't find out about the drawing until it had 600,000 entries? Seems like one would just be wasting their time?

6/13/2021 12:26 - Charles H.

When the lottery stops allowing people such as Phil Morgan and Robert L. Kilpatrick to win big prizes more than once or at the very least restrict their winning to at least once per year then other players who have been cheated might stand a better chance at winning.

6/13/2021 12:21 - Charles H.

I seriously doubt her entry was chosen at random. Her alleged win had the classic signs of previous winners including Wake County resident and retired Teacher.

6/12/2021 11:27 - jeremy a.

Hey so he said he received a phone call... I thought it was only an email. People like me who dont answer random phone numbers..... Will an email be sent out if phone calls dont reach the winner????? NC Lottery
Hi Jeremya, that's a great question! Winners are notified within 48 hours of the draw day via email. If we don't hear back, we'll give the winner a phone call and will send a certified letter to the address on the winner's account if we need to. Since the only way we can get in contact with a potential winner is by the info on their NC Lottery account, this is a great reminder to always keep your info up-to-date!

6/12/2021 08:04 - kenny h.

9:30 ?? Must have been a pretty tall glass Lol. Congrats ??

6/12/2021 03:47 - JIA L.

@DENVER G lol man! i really laughing hard and feel sorry for you. I didn't expect anyone who has worse luck than me...I knew there are millions of entries every time though

6/12/2021 12:14 - Roy M.

Congratulations Teresa it is a pleasure to see people win.

6/12/2021 10:48 - CHRISTINA T.

Congratulation and i want to win too

6/12/2021 07:44 - Shawn C.

I never leave comments, but there is one comment that leaves me puzzled. Linda commented asking where the ticket was purchased. My question is so is this not an random drawing?? When you enter the second chance ticket the system already know who the winner will be. If so, this is just terrible here I am thinking it's a random drawing when the system already knows. This is just so disappointing!! NC Lottery
Hi Shawn, all of the lottery's promotional and second-chance drawings are held using a Random Number Generator (RNG).The RNG assigns each entry a random number and then picks one of the random numbers. There are no names input into the RNG. It has no idea which players have entered, who they are or if they deserve to win more than anyone else. The results are totally random and fair to everyone. There is also an independent auditor present for all drawings. If you'd like to learn more about how RNG works we encourage you to email

6/12/2021 07:19 - Denver G.

JIA L. There are literally thousands of people like you. Prolly hundreds of thousands. Did you know there are well over 2 million members of the lucky zone . I have been entering 2nd chance & monthly drawings for 9 years now and still have not won !!!!!

6/12/2021 12:45 - JULIA J.

What happened to the 2nd Chance page that’s on your app? I see the Lucke Rewards page but nowhere to be found is the 2nd Chance NC Lottery
Hello Julia we're sorry for the inconvenience. It should be working again, please close and open the app again. Thank you and we apologize again.

6/12/2021 12:07 - Robert H.

I was hoping to win, but I’m glad she won. God knew she deserved it and knew she would do the right thing with it. Good things happen to good people. My turns coming up. I’ll patiently wait for it. God bless you all!!!

6/11/2021 09:28 - JIA L.

imagine someone like me who put in several thousands of entries for 2nd chance and monthly drawings time to time and still can't win a 500 prize...

6/11/2021 09:10 - Anthony C.

Congratulations maybe one day I can will alittle but I guess I just got a struggle a little bit more he just will come in handy right now with just having my daughter

6/11/2021 08:15 - Derek J.

I am unable to locate the 2nd chance drawing. Was it taken off the NCEL app? NC Lottery
Hi Derek, it may have been down briefly for updates but it appears to be back up. We suggest closing and reopening the app on your device. We apologize for this inconvenience. Good luck to you! [/reply

6/11/2021 06:27 - Gloria C.

Congratulations to you and I wish you many more wonderful wins.

6/11/2021 04:46 - Linda J.

Where did she buy the ticket atNC Lottery
Hi Linda, this winner did not disclose where they purchased the ticket, and because it was a Second Chance drawing, that information is not automatically recorded when the ticket is entered into the drawing. Sorry about that.

6/11/2021 04:16 - Cynthia A.


6/11/2021 04:02 - John J.

congrats to you.! but I have a lot of sadness in my heart cause I can't win and being retired too, its just unreal

6/11/2021 02:49 - Casselle W.

Congrats on such a fabulous blessing, enjoy it, pay it forward and stay safe, keep on winning!!!

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