Like many people, La Pheris F. Powers of Springfield, Massachusetts had fantasized about what he would do if he won the lottery.
Now that he has, his nine grandchildren and niece don't have to worry about paying for college.
The number one thing I want to do is make sure they get the best education available to them," said Powers, who won $4.5 million Sept. 20 in the Megabucks game.
Powers, a 63-year-old retired Northeast Utilities engineer, doesn't plan on buying any new fancy cars or house or clothes.
"We are not very materialistic people," said Powers.
Powers said he might do some renovations to his 11-room, single-family home at Berkeley and Monmouth streets in the McKnight neighborhood, but he and his wife, Diane K. Powers, are quite content with the way they live.
"We love our house and neighbors," Powers said.
The Ford pickup truck he drives and the Hyundai his wife drives will be used "until they just don't run anymore."
Although the two already have received the first of what will be 20 annual checks of $230,000 ($165,756 after taxes), the 55-year-old Diane Powers has returned to her job as an administrative assistant at Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co.
"Not much will change," he said.
Powers said he had been playing the Megabucks game for several years, and usually picks one number at random and plays some mathematical games to decide the six numbers of his entry. He always buys his lottery tickets at Quick Pic convenience store at 1343 Carew St.
"I picked 18 (on Sept. 20) and divided it and multiplied it and took fractions to decide my numbers," said Powers, whose winning numbers were 4, 20, 30, 34, 39 and 40.
Later that night, after a friend had fixed his computer, he asked his wife to look up the winning number on the Massachusetts Lottery Commission Web site.
"Diane said there was only one winner and it was in Springfield. She started reading the numbers, and with every number I jumped higher until I was dancing around," said Powers.
"It must have been 1 a.m. We then called various relatives starting at about 3 a.m.," Powers said.
One thing that has changed is that La Pheris Powers has established a scholarship in memory of his niece, Joan "Halimah" Laverne Brooks, a free lance writer who often wrote for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and who died two weeks ago.
Powers has donated $50,000 seed money and hopes to help the scholarship fund grow through matching grants and other donations.
Scholarships will be awarded to students who show an interest in journalism and the arts "like Joan" and be given to students who attend W.E.B Dubois Learning Academy, where La Pheris Powers has been working as a tutor with males between the ages of 8 and 14.
"These boys are mostly from single-parent households who need a little help from a mentor," said Powers, who volunteers every Saturday at the school.
"We teach some black history, review some science and math, take an occasional field trip and - after the academics are complete - we let them play a little ball," said Powers.
Powers said he has always valued education. Phyllis Powers, one of his three daughters from a previous marriage, is a lawyer in Philadelphia. Another, Felicia Powers, is an FBI agent. The third, Karen Powers, is a homemaker in Maryland.
His wife also has three daughters from a previous marriage. All of them are in management in various fields.
Meanwhile, his grandchildren, who are 3 to 18 years old, will have few worries when they attend college. "I can't think of any better way of using the money," Powers said.