2009-01-13 16:08:04.45

Branson Teacher Starts New Year With $50,000 Prize

It was a "late Christmas gift" and a very happy start to the New Year for one Rockaway Beach woman who is now $50,000 richer.  Jennifer Wilken, a first-time Lottery winner, explained her win as "unreal."

"At first I thought I won $500," revealed Wilken.  "Then I thought maybe I didn’t win anything.  It didn’t seem like it could be real!"

Wilken noted that she might have even scared her dog with her display of excitement when she finally started to believe she had won the Lottery.

"My dog looked at me when I started screaming," explained Wilken.  "I think he was confused and a little bit scared."

According to Wilken, a teacher at Branson Intermediate School in Branson, plans for the prize money include paying bills and enjoying 2009.

"I haven’t had a chance to think about what else I want to do with the prize money," said Wilken.

Wilken purchased the Missouri Lottery "Crossword" Scratchers ticket from Taneycomo Market and Campground, 2581 Highway 176 in Rockaway Beach, and claimed her prize on Jan. 2.

"Crossword," a $3 game with a top prize of $50,000, officially began on Aug. 30.

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