Student and mother of three returns to classes following the surprise celebration on campus during which she received a $1 million check.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:08 PM

November 21 was a good day for Fortis College, Columbus student Traci Skinner. Make that a great day!

Arriving for a noon lecture on campus, Traci took her seat as usual…but what happened next was anything but usual. A guest “speaker” (actually an actor) began a lecture on stress and how most people feel money helps reduce much of the stress we feel every day. On cue, officials from The Ohio Lottery, a TV camera crew, faculty, staff and students poured into the classroom with roses, balloons, confetti, horns and a REALLY BIG check: a $1 million check bearing Traci’s name!

Traci, who purchased a winning Classic Black instant ticket with a Top Drawing symbol last December, had just been selected as the million dollar winner of the Top Prize Drawing. Stunned by what she saw and heard, Traci was speechless at first…then sobbed, laughed and shook with excitement as her classmates chimed in with shouts of joy. 

Once the celebration ended, Traci returned to class, albeit in a whole new frame of mind.

“We can pay off so many bills with this. I can start paying off my student loans. Oh my,” Traci said upon regaining her composure. One of the first things on her “to-do” list is to go shopping for a new car to replace one that just broken down. She said her three sons, ages 5, 9 and 12, had been hoping for a new Ford Flex. It now appears their wish will come true. 

“This was just awesome,” said Fortis College Dean Karen Pictor. “We are thrilled that Tracy is Ohio’s newest millionaire. She is very deserving and this prize certainly will brighten the holiday season for her and her family.

“We are so very pleased that Traci’s Fortis family was able to share in her joy today,” added Campus President Wynn Blanton. 

After surprising her husband, Terry, at his workplace with the giant check and balloons, he, too, was at a loss for words. After celebrating the family’s good fortune together, Traci was back on campus concentrating on her studies. While her feet may have come back to solid ground…her head, no doubt, was still a bit up in the clouds.

As part of the collaborative Fortis network of colleges and institutes, the Columbus campus provides graduates with the tools necessary to establish professional goals and achieve success in existing and emerging professions. Fortis College students select from enhanced course offerings backed by the resources of a strong educational network that is committed to quality education and dedicated to placing students on desired career paths.