Conway student wins $300K scholarship in VaxMillions Giveaway

  • Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/26/2021 10:27:32 PM

BOSTON — A Conway resident and Four Rivers Charter Public School student has won a $300,000 college scholarship in the last of five drawings for the Massachusetts VaxMillions Giveaway.

Gretchen Selva of Conway was announced as the winner of this week’s final college scholarship giveaway in a statement from the governor’s office. The Baker-Polito administration, Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg and Massachusetts State Lottery announced the final winners for the VaxMillions Giveaway on Thursday.

Selva is entering this fall as a sophomore at Four Rivers in Greenfield. She received the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as she was eligible “to protect herself, her family and to do her part in stopping the spread.”

Selva is a guitar player whose passion for music began when she joined Four Rivers’ music tributary course in seventh grade. In a phone interview, she said she hopes to weave this passion into her future college studies and career. She said she has researched potential schools in the New England area, but the scholarship will allow her to expand her search.

“I’m hoping to go to college for music, and get a degree in music writing and production,” Selva said. “I’d like some kind of job in production, like being a producer for a band. And I would love to make my own music someday.”

The family said they received the news that Selva had won the scholarship while they were moving her older sister, a freshman at the University of Vermont, into her dorm this week. The family will need to go to the state lottery office in Dorchester to formally accept the scholarship.

“It’s still hard to believe,” said Christine Selva, Gretchen’s mother.

From the time the program was announced on June 15 through the final day of registration, over 318,000 residents received a first dose of the vaccine, and over 440,000 residents became fully vaccinated, the state announcement said. As part of the giveaway, residents 12-17 years old who are fully vaccinated were eligible for the chance to win one of five $300,000 scholarships. Fully vaccinated residents age 18 and older were eligible to win one of five $1 million cash prizes.

The winner of this week’s $1 million prize is Cynthia Thirath of Leominster.

Goldberg, who chairs the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, said the VaxmMillions sweepstakes “did in fact encourage thousands who were not yet vaccinated, and at the end of the day that is a win/win for everyone.”

Over 2.5 million people signed up for the VaxMillions Giveaway, including 2.35 million residents 18 and older, and 167,000 residents ages 12-17.

Massachusetts remains a national leader in vaccinations with over 4.4 million residents fully vaccinated and over 5 million residents with at least one dose, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Over 900 vaccination locations can be found across the state, with appointments and walk-ins widely available. Residents seeking a vaccine can visit

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