COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cincinnati teen Sean Horning won the state's fourth full-ride scholarship in the Vax-a-Million drawing Wednesday. The $1 million prize went to Suzanne Ward, of Findlay in Hancock County.
Horning graduated from Colerain High School in May, according to a spokesperson with Northwest Local Schools. He said the win came as a huge surprise, because his mother entered him into the drawing without telling him.
Although Horning just finished high school, he planned to play baseball over the summer and hadn't planned to go to college right away.
Horning said because of the price tag of college, he was thinking seriously about not going at all -- but now he plans to study sports management and said the scholarship has opened new doors for him.
"I don't want to be in debt and now we're not in debt anymore," said Horning. "That was my biggest thing. That's what was holding me back from college. I wasn't going to go because of that. And now I'm definitely going."
Horning's mother said all she could do was cry and praise God for the opportunity her son has been given.
The state announced the fourth pair of Ohio Vax-a-Million winners Wednesday evening even as the bump from the incentive program fades and vaccination numbers remain stagnant.
More than 3.4 million Ohioans entered their names for a shot at the $1 million, up a little from the 3.3 million who had registered for last week’s drawing. More than 150,000 children age 12-17 entered their names for the scholarship, up from just over 133,000 last week.
The state named the winners at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s May 12 announcement of the incentive program had the desired effect, leading to a 43% boost in state vaccination numbers over the previous week. But numbers of vaccinations have dropped since then.
About 5.5 million people in Ohio have received at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or about 47% of the population. About 4.9 million people, or 42% of the population, have completed the process.
Earlier this month DeWine warned that about 200,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were set to expire on June 23, but the Food and Drug Administration last week extended the expiration date by six weeks.