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Nissan awards free car to lucky high schooler

Posted: April 22, 2013 8:41 p.m.
Updated: April 22, 2013 8:41 p.m.

Canyon High School junior Crista Wyatt reacts as she starts the engine of a Nissan Versa at the William S. Hart Union High School District's car giveaway at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Monday. Wyatt won a 2013 Nissan Versa from Nissan of Valencia among four finalists randomly chosen among Hart district...

A few thousand high school students and their families came out for the second annual Nissan car giveaway at College of the Canyons.

Junior and senior high school students and their familes filled most of the home side bleachers at Cougar Stadium as representatives from the William S. Hart school district and Nissan of Valencia drew names from a raffle.

“We figured what’s the best way to give back to our communty if not giving back to the Hart district and to all the high school kids,” said Daniel Sterkel, the executive manager for Nissan of Valencia. “We’re giving back to the schools and giving back right to the kids.”

Sterkel sees the giveaway as a way to reward local students’ hard work in class.

“The most important thing to us is that these kids that are here all went to school 97 percent of the time, so they allowed the teachers to do their job,” Sterkel said.

Eleventh and 12th grade students also had to have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and be free of suspensions to qualify for the drawing.

The smaller prizes came first, with a few dozen students winning gift cards and packages from businesses like Best Buy, Red Robin and Six Flags.

But the grand prize, a brand new 2013 Nissan Versa, was what every student had their eyes on.

To win this, four students were selected from the raffle. Each was given a key to the car, but only one key would start it.

The first two failed, but the third key started the engine. That key was turned by Canyon High School junior Crista Wyatt.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” she said. “I didn’t even want to come. My mom made me.”

Crista said she had been saving up for a car, but can now put that money toward college and housing.

It wasn’t all bad for the three students whose keys did not start the Versa — they each won a $1,000 scholarship.

On top of that, one lucky senior was drawn from the raffle to win a $2,500 scholarship.

That prize went to Hart High School senior Asia Antoniuk. She says it will come in handy when she heads to the Air Force academy in Colorado Springs.

“I’m really happy about it,” she said, shaking with excitement. “[I can] spend it on stuff I need for school... and boots.”

Sterkel said he was excited about the turnout and what the giveaway means to the community.

“It’s a great event and we’re going to be doing it again next year,” he said.


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