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'Weight off my shoulders': Mayfield HS senior says scholarship from Vax-a-Million will help her become pediatrician

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Posted at 12:04 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 12:04:07-04

MAYFIELD, Ohio — For two weeks in a row, Northeast Ohio is now home to two lucky winners of the Vax-a-Million lottery—one a recipient of the four-year scholarship and another of the $1 million prize.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a news conference with the second $1 million winner and the second four-year scholarship winner.

Second winner of four-year college scholarship —Zoie Vincent from Mayfield Village

At 7:15 p.m. last night, Vincent's dad took the call from DeWine who announced that his daughter was the recipient of the four-year scholarship prize.

As she was sitting and waiting to receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Mayfield Heights High School rising senior knew something was up when her father kept repeating the governor’s name during the phone call.

“It was just really wild that it came out of nowhere and you weren't really expecting it at all," Vincent said. "This is a super big surprise, and we're all so excited about it,” she said.

For as long as she could remember, Vincent had always been interested in medicine and science. Coming out of her first year in her high school’s Excel TECC Medical Technologies program, COVID-19 impacted the way she completed her studies.

“I'm just excited to be out of it sort of and to be able to actually do my interest in college later on and actually be a doctor and go to med school and everything in the future, especially with this four-year scholarship. I'm excited to actually be able to put my focus on paying for med school."

She plans to study pre-med in college to fulfill her dream to become a pediatrician. She is enrolled in AP courses and is a member of the National Technical Honors Society.

Vincent reiterated the scholarship allows her now to focus on the big picture ahead: becoming a doctor.

"I felt like a weight off my shoulders, sort of, because I could really see my career ahead of me instead of seeing a time of me paying off my debt because of medical school and because of my later education," she said. "And it was just kind of like a big relief in that sense."

Second winner of $1 million—Jonathan Carlyle from Toledo

The call from DeWine came after a long shift delivering packages for Amazon.

“I saw your name on my phone and I knew I had a feeling what was up. And I listened to the voicemail and I pretty much almost lost it inside the van,” he said.

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Jonathan Carlyle from Toledo.

While he hasn’t thought much about what he will do with the money just yet, he knows he wants to find a permanent home for his family, which includes his 5-month-old son.

“I can't explain now how much pressure this is going to take off to help raise him.”

The announcement of the Vax-a-Million lottery inspired Jonathan to move quicker on his quest to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. His girlfriend has already received her first dose. He meant to get the vaccine but long work hours got in the way.

“I just kept putting it off and off. I knew I needed to get it and I wanted to get it," he said. "When the Vax-a-Million was announced and as soon as I heard that, yes, I need to go do this now. And I think it was two days later, I went to the rec center and got the Johnson & Johnson shot.”

How to enter for the next drawing

The Vax-a-Million program, which is being run by the Ohio Lottery and the Ohio Department of Health, is awarding one vaccinated adult Ohio resident with $1 million each Wednesday for the next five weeks. The names of the winners will be announced live on-air during a special Ohio Lottery broadcast on News 5 Cleveland at 7:29 p.m. each Wednesday.

The winner of a full-ride scholarship to an Ohio university will also be announced every Wednesday night; that winner is drawn from a pool of vaccinated Ohioans aged 12-17.

RELATED: 'Whirlwind': Shaker Heights native reacts to winning $1 million in Ohio Vax-a-Million lottery

Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.

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