Students are rewarded for academic excellence

by Austin Dave, Staff Writer 691 views0

This weekend marked the end and the beginning of a journey for several high school students.

The end of this year’s Nissan of Valencia Car Giveaway was signaled by a semiprivate ceremony in the dealership’s lobby, where each winner received their prize.

“We definitely try to give back to all parts of the community that has relations with the schools,” said Daniel Sterkel, general manager at Nissan of Valencia.

“We give out scholarships, and that’s a great thing,” Sterkel said.

Crista Wyatt, a Canyon High School junior, won a new 2013 Nissan Versa S during the initial ceremony Tuesday evening.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “I’ll be using the money that I have saved to buy a car to use towards college. It helps me out with my education.”

“She’s done well in school ever since elementary school and to get a reward like this is awesome for her,” said her father, Chris Wyatt.

Because the car increases her range of travel, the Canyon High student has widened her array of college choices to include schools farther away from the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We never in a million years thought this would happen, and here we are,” said Cristina Wyatt, Crista’s mother.

“I’m really glad I don’t have to worry about my first car anymore,” Crista Wyatt said.

“It’s really helping us financially because we don’t have to worry about the cost of a vehicle,” Christina said. “This is a step forward for us.”

Wyatt’s first destination in her new car? The post office to get her passport.

“We have to run an errand first, but then we will show grandma and grandpa,” Christina said.

The dealership doesn’t focus primarily on giving away cars as they contribute to various high school and junior high school athletic programs.

“We give donations to tennis clubs, baseball clubs, football clubs, to the boosters — whatever it takes,” he said. “We’re always here and glad to help.”

“Seeing Crista’s key start the car was fantastic,” Sterkel said. “And the three girls whose keys didn’t start the car won $1,000 scholarships and are extremely happy.”

For the second consecutive year, Hart High School’s drumline took home a $1,000 cash prize to benefit the school’s music program.

“I talked to everyone individually and they all said the $500 will go a long way and with Hart’s $1,000 dollars,” Sterkel said.

“Ten people came up to me and told me the young lady who won the $2,500 scholarship was just as happy as Crista was with the new car,” Sterkel said.

When asked if he could give a message to other Santa Clarita-based businesses who are thinking of becoming active in our community, Sterkel replied with a smile and without hesitation.

“You should do it. Small, medium or large, give back to our kids and give back to our schools,” he said.

Austin Dave, Staff Writer

Austin spent two years in the GVTV television production class at Golden Valley High School — one year on the staff and one year as the student producer. Following graduation in June 2009 he enrolled in the News Media class at College of the Canyons, where he enjoys his position as Web Director of Cougar News Online ( In his spare time, Austin films and edits projects for local businesses, schools and bands. Video editing and cinematography are his two deepest passions. He enjoys living in the city of Santa Clarita and is the youngest member of the SCVTV staff.

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