Glenwood senior wins car on ‘best day of high school so far’ |

Glenwood senior wins car on ‘best day of high school so far’

Jennie Trejo

Glenwood Springs High School senior Olivia Dixon walks to school, and has for the last four years, but Thursday she walked out the owner of a 2007 Ford Fusion.

This was the second year that Glenwood Springs Ford and the high school administration teamed up to reward a student with a car. Requirements to be entered in the drawing included a minimum 3.5 GPA or a half-point GPA increase, attendance of at least 95 percent, and sophomore, junior or senior standing.

GSHS Dean of Students Pat Engle opened the “Make the Grade” assembly by noting that 100 students had been eligible to win the car in 2015, but this year, 170 students were entered, which is a notable increase in student performance.

“The majority of the new kids that qualified this year were ones that raised their GPA and improved their attendance,” Engle said. “There’s a lot of factors involved in why that happened, and one of them was the car.”

After a drumroll from the student body, Engle announced the winner by reading the student’s home address. Ironically, that student was not present. Since attendance was an integral part of the criteria, he read another address.

Dixon yelled, “That’s my home address” in disbelief. She soon was shaking hands with Engle and Steve Nilsson of Glenwood Springs Ford, who handed her the keys.

“I was really, really surprised,” Dixon said. “I knew I met the criteria to win but never thought it would actually happen.”

Dixon said the first place she wanted to drive was either to her mom’s workplace or out to lunch with her best friend, Jillian Wentzel, who was her personal chauffeur all year.

“I am always asking my mom if I can borrow her car, which displeases her, so I think she’s going to be really happy,” Dixon said.

Nilsson originally got the idea for the car donation from a friend who owns a dealership in Ohio. He thought it could provide motivation for the students.

“Each year we devote about $5,000 to this,” Nilsson said. “We’ll start looking for the car for next year now. We want to make sure it’s clean and safe, so we can make that happen for one of the kids.”

Football coach Steve Carter originally owned the car that Dixon won. He had traded it in for a new one earlier in the year.

“I think Coach Carter really loved the idea,” Nilsson said. “He really loves the kids at the school, so I think he was pretty excited that one of them could end up with his old car.”

Engle said that the high school is indebted to Glenwood Springs Ford. Glenwood High values the partnership the two have, which extends further than the car.

“We have a great community, and they are one pillar of our community that supports our school very well,” Engle said.

Glenwood Springs Ford hopes to continue this tradition as long as the high school is interested.

“I want to say a huge thank-you to Ford,” Dixon said. “This is the best day of my life so far. Best day of high school so far. Honestly, this is probably better than graduation.”

Dixon will attend Regis University in the fall. She plans to be on the pre-med track with a double major in biology and sociology — and is happy that she will not have to ride her bike everywhere.

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