Two Northern Kentucky teenagers — an Owenton boy with football dreams and a Ft. Michell boy hoping for a normal school year with friends — won college scholarships Friday in Kentucky’s second “Shot at a Million” lottery.
The lottery, which is only enterable by Kentuckians vaccinated against COVID-19, awarded five scholarships to teenagers and one $1 million jackpot to Ginger Schultz, a Louisville woman who got the shot for her 85-year-old mother’s sake.
The scholarship winners were:
- Shelby Anderson of Louisville
- Isabella Brozak of Crestwood
- T.J. Ponder of Owenton
- Reese Johnson of Harrodsburg
- Julian Sandberg of Ft. Mitchell
“When I got the vaccine, I did it because I just wanted my life to be normal again and I wanted to see my friends,” 14-year-old Sandberg said at a news conference announcing the winners.
His father, Kal Steinberg, said that getting a scholarship for Julian’s college costs relieved “an incredible burden” on their family.
Julian’s mother, Maria Sanders, said in a statement: “We can't believe our good fortune. I hope folks realize that scientists blessed us all with a miracle, and by saying yes to the vaccine, we move our state and country forward.”
T.J. Ponder of Owenton said he got the shot so he would be able to play football during the upcoming school year.
“Winning the scholarship means a lot to me because my mom is a single mom and it will help us out a lot so I can go to college or a trade school,” he said in a statement.
At Gov. Andy Beshear’s news conference announcing the winners, Ponder was even more direct: “I just want to say, everybody get vaccinated.”
One more “Shot at a Million” drawing remains. Its winners will be announced Aug. 26. Any vaccinated Kentuckian over the age of 18 can enter for a chance to win $1 million. Any vaccinated Kentuckian ages 12-17 can enter for a chance to win a full scholarship to a Kentucky college, university, technical or trade school.
As the delta variant spreads across the United States, prompting a revival of masking requirements and new discussion about requiring vaccination, President Joe Biden has encouraged local governments to offer smaller guaranteed incentives — $100 per person — to people getting the COVID-19 vaccine.