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Powerball Feast For Cafeteria Crew

Sixteen school co-workers from Holdingford School District in Holdingford, Minn., including, from left, Donna Lange, Elaine Schumer, Susan Breth, Karen Overman, Phylis Breth and Alice Kobylinski, claimed half of the $190.9 million Powerball jackpot at the Minnesota State Lottery headquarters in Roseville, Minn., Monday, Oct. 27, 2003. Each of the women contributed a quarter to purchase four Powerball tickets, one for each of the drawings over their two-week pay period.
AP
They waited until the students got their lunch, then 15 school cooks and one janitor who each put a quarter into a lottery pool came forward Monday night as the holders of a Powerball ticket worth more than $95 million.

The women started their first Monday as millionaires back on the school lunch line where they fed the students in the tiny Holdingford School District before hopping a bus to the state lottery headquarters to claim their prize.

"It was really tough to be concentrating on the meal," said winner Karen Overman. "I know there's a need for news conferences in the morning, but we've got breakfast to put out."

The school workers bought one of two winning tickets for the $190.9 million Powerball jackpot. No one has claimed a second ticket that was sold in a small southwestern Indiana town.

Each paycheck, the Minnesota women would put a quarter toward four Powerball tickets — a routine they have followed since 1990.

The women, who call themselves the "Happy Huskers" after the school's mascot, the Huskers, range in age from 35 to "old enough to retire," in Donna Lange's case.

Lange said she realized that the ticket, which was posted on a school bulletin board, was a winner after checking the numbers she copied down with a Sunday newspaper. She immediately called Overman, who had a key to the school.

"I called her a liar like three times," Overman said.

At a news conference Monday night, the smiling women said they still had not decided whether to choose the cash option, which would amount to $2.1 million apiece after taxes.

Some in the group said they didn't plan on giving up their school lunch jobs just yet.

"The kids come first," Overman said of the tiny school district outside of St. Cloud, in central Minnesota.

"One of the students asked me how it felt to be a millionaire," said winner Elaine Schumer. "I said, 'I don't know about that, but you're very lucky to have million dollar cooks."'

The winning numbers were 6-17-45-47-48 and Powerball 4.

The winners can take $95.45 million worth of annual payments over 30 years or $49.8 million in cash before taxes.