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NJ Teachers just miss $130M Mega Millions lottery jackpot

Mega MillionsMega Millions: NJ Teachers just miss $130M Mega Millions lottery jackpot

A group of 82 teachers and staff members at School 10 in Paterson, New Jersey came within one number of winning the $130 million jackpot in last week's Mega Millions game.

Instead, they will take home about $2,134 each before taxes, having won the second prize of $175,000. Although disappointed that they can't retire early, the winners who gathered Tuesday to pose for New Jersey Lottery photographs were happy they won anything at all.

"This is the biggest win I've ever had," gym teacher William Best said.

The group, which optimistically dubbed themselves the Mercer Street Millionaires for the school's location, matched five of the Mega Millions numbers, but did not have the Mega Ball number needed for the top prize. Joking and giggling, they donned New Jersey Lottery T-shirts on Tuesday to celebrate the win.

Third-grade bilingual teacher Kathy Esquiche inadvertently started the lottery pool several weeks ago when she made an off-hand remark to a colleague about the mounting prize. Someone overheard her conversation in the teachers lounge before school and within days, Esquiche had collected $10 each from 81 fellow teachers, secretaries, lunch monitors and custodians.

She walked to a bodega across the street from the school and bought 820 of the $1 Mega Millions tickets for the Jan. 14 drawing. The group won $385. Esquiche took that money and bought 385 tickets for the Jan. 18 drawing. The winning numbers were 10, 23, 28, 39 and 51 and the Mega Ball was 5. A couple from Georgia were the lone first-prize winners.

Lacking that Mega Ball number, the School 10 players became one of three New Jersey players to win second prize.

"Everyone was on a honeymoon that day," Esquiche said. "We came pretty close, but we were blessed."

Secretary Lakeysha Cooper was the last person to join the pool. She had begged Esquiche not to forget her. She said she wasn't disappointed that they missed out on the multimillion dollar prize.

"I'm grateful for what we got," Cooper said. "We started with $10."

Esquiche said she's certain that the next time the lottery jackpot exceeds $100 million, she'll get all of the 126 faculty and staff members at the K-8 school to join the pool.

Eighth-grade teacher Arthur Newfeld nearly missed out on the pool because he had been out on sick leave recovering from lung surgery. A chance visit to the school on doctor's orders brought him face to face with Esquiche while she was collecting money. Newfeld's doctor suggested he try to walk the school's stairs to gauge his stamina before returning to work.

Years ago, teachers at School 10 played the lottery together nearly every week, but never won more than $100, Newfeld said.

"As they say, you've got to be in it to win it," Newfeld said. "We all play, but you never expect to win. None of us are millionaires from it, but we're a couple dollars happier."

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9 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
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United States
Member #6676
September 3, 2004
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Posted: January 26, 2005, 3:01 pm - IP Logged

nice! but i wonder, how does one feel knowing that they were only one number away from eternal wealth?

--winner2b

    undress's avatar - Lottery-061.jpg
    roseville, MI
    United States
    Member #5980
    July 30, 2004
    18205 Posts
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    Posted: January 26, 2005, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

    Sick lol

    Mad ALL IN!Mad

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      United States
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      December 30, 2002
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      Posted: January 26, 2005, 3:43 pm - IP Logged

      Speaking from experience: it doesn't feel good. 14 years ago I was 1 number away from winning $50,000 in Mass Millions and ended up with $100. I had 5 of the 6 numbers and the other number was a 42 and I had 41. Not eternal wealth, but since I was in dire poverty and misery at the time, it seemed that way to me.

        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        Clarksville
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        July 15, 2002
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        Posted: January 26, 2005, 4:14 pm - IP Logged

        For the teachers and staff of Mercer school, I am sure that the money came in very handy..

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
          23260 Posts
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          Posted: January 26, 2005, 4:15 pm - IP Logged
          Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on January 26, 2005



          Speaking from experience: it doesn't feel good. 14 years ago I was 1 number away from winning $50,000 in Mass Millions and ended up with $100. I had 5 of the 6 numbers and the other number was a 42 and I had 41. Not eternal wealth, but since I was in dire poverty and misery at the time, it seemed that way to me.




           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
          What grade did your lottery earn?

           

          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

            curt777's avatar - pacman
            Palatine, IL
            United States
            Member #734
            September 24, 2002
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            Posted: January 27, 2005, 10:26 am - IP Logged

            Welcome to my hell, TG636 !!  I've been playing Illinois Little Lotto for 10 years.  In that time, I've matched 4/5 at least 16 times.  On 6 of those occasions, I had the exact same thing happen to me...  Literally ONE digit off from winning the whole jackpot.  THE HORROR!  Although one time my payout was $460, so I was pretty jazzed about that... 

            Just keep playing... One day your ship will come in!!!   

            -Curt Little Lotto King

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #6676
              September 3, 2004
              95 Posts
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              Posted: January 27, 2005, 10:27 am - IP Logged
              Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on January 26, 2005



              Speaking from experience: it doesn't feel good. 14 years ago I was 1 number away from winning $50,000 in Mass Millions and ended up with $100. I had 5 of the 6 numbers and the other number was a 42 and I had 41. Not eternal wealth, but since I was in dire poverty and misery at the time, it seemed that way to me.




              very true, each person has their own threshold and own desires as to what is needed. but man! thats a whole lotta millions :) 

              --winner2b

                Litebets27's avatar - power
                Maryland
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                January 14, 2005
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                Posted: January 27, 2005, 10:51 am - IP Logged

                Three years ago I had a chance of winning 1.1 mil. through our local lotto. I had a 22, the number I needed was 23. The second tier payment was 1500.00 which I didn't mind. So the miss only hurt for a little while. I mean, I was greatful for the second tier win.

                Congrats to the teachers. I'm sure the deserve every penny they won and more.

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                  Tennessee
                  United States
                  Member #7853
                  October 15, 2004
                  11338 Posts
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                  Posted: January 30, 2005, 5:55 pm - IP Logged

                  i wonder how much is the most some people pool into the mega millions game...800 dollars and it didn't take them long to win a second tier prize...