‘I started yelling that I’d won a million dollars’: Vax-a-Million winners react to exciting news

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In a Zoom press conference with Governor Mike DeWine , 22-year-old Abbigail Bugenske and 14-year-old Joseph Costello talked about being the first two people to win the drawing for Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery.

Of nearly 3 million people who signed up for the lottery, Bugenske was the lucky winner of $1 million, while Joseph was the first student to get a full ride scholarship through the lottery.

“When I started yelling that I’d won a million dollars and that I was gonna be a millionaire, they told me to calm down and make sure it wasn’t a prank before I started freaking out,” said Bugenske.

Now that Bugenske is a millionaire, she’s not sure what to do with the winnings. “Donating to some charities. I don’t really know the specifics yet.” However, Bugenske says she’s not going to quit her job at GE, because she loves her job and the people she works with. “As for future plans, I’m probably going to invest most of it.”

For Joseph, the incoming Northmont High School Freshman is now looking ahead to college. “I know some schools I might wanna go to, like Miami University or Ohio State University.”

Joseph’s mom, Colleen Costello, is the one who signed her son and the rest of the family up for the lottery. Costello said when she received the personal phone call from DeWine, it was a shock.

“I was really thankful at that moment that there was a bench nearby, because I needed to sit down, and like Abbey said, kinda ground myself to absorb the information you were sharing,” said Colleen.

(Pictured) Northmont High School, where Joseph Costello will attend as a Freshman this fall.

During the press conference, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the funding will go into a 529 investment account for Joseph.

“We peg the amount of money based on the cost of a highest state university school. That’s the amount of money we put in which will cover room, board, books, and tuition,” said DeWine.

Governor DeWine says even if Costello choses to not go to a public Ohio college, the money will still be there for use at another college.

Northmont School’s Superintendent Tony Thomas says the district is ecstatic for Joseph to receive such an honor.

“Everyone from his bus drivers to his teachers, voicing how excited they were for the news that’d just broken,” said Thomas.

DeWine says once people apply for the Vax-a-Million lottery, they’re eligible for all drawings. May 30 at 11:59 p.m is the deadline for the next drawings, with the second set of winners set to be announced June 2.

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