Canyon High School junior Crista Wyatt was trying to figure out how to buy a new car.
Not anymore. She was the lucky winner in Nissan of Valencia’s annual car giveaway.
“I’m shaking,” Crista Wyatt said. “I can’t even believe what’s happening right now.”
A culmination of hard work paid off for the William S. Hart Union High School District student when she won a 2013 Nissan Versa S compact sedan at College of the Canyons Monday.
Wyatt thought her chances were slim to none, and at one point told her father “There’s no way, I might as well just leave.”
At that moment, an opportunity landed in front of her.
“They called my name and I thought no way,” she said.
For Wyatt, whose 97 percent attendance record and GPA easily exceed the contest’s requirement, the new car is a fitting reward for her academic performance.
“I’ve definitely put in a lot of hard work at school, and I’m glad I won the car,” she said. “I’m going to drive it around and just be happy I have a new car.”
Wyatt’s special moment came at the conclusion of an event at College of the Canyons that attracted several thousand students and parents.
Daniel Sterkel, general manager for Nissan of Valencia once again worked with the high school district to hand out hundreds of prizes totaling 25 thousand dollars.
Only 11th and 12th-grade students with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and free of suspensions were eligible for the raffle.
Four students were chosen and given keys to start the 2013 Nissan Versa. A pair of students failed to start the car before Wyatt’s key worked.
The night’s other big winner was Hart senior Asia Antoniuk who took home a $2,500 dollar scholarship. She is headed to the Air Force Academy later this summer.
“I think any business, any dealership that is as successful as we are should give back,” said General Manager Daniel Sterkel. “We wanted to give back to the school district and the kids.”
Strekel strongly believes in incentivizing positive actions and looks for different ways to do so.
“We want kids to show up in school, so if you show up 97 percent of the time, you’ve got a shot to win a new car.”
As a father of four, Sterkel takes into account the amount of labor that goes into school work.
“I know it’s hard work,” he said. “I rarely saw my daughter when she was their age because she was always doing work.”
The dealership, which underwent a management shakeup two and a half years ago, has given out $75,000 in the last year with a majority of the stake going to local schools.
“They need to be rewarded,” Sterkel said. “And I’m glad to do it.”