What does it say about the world when you try to do something and it's so good that no one believes you are really doing it.
Last year, we teamed up with Tatton Manning and Seth Knigton at Patriot Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Chandler to give a brand new Jeep Renegade to the Patriot CJDR Student of the Year.
It was funny.
No matter how many times or how many ways we said it, no one believed this dealership was giving away a vehicle to the Student of the Year.
Some assumed it was really a one year lease or maybe it was just for a trial period. Everyone kept looking for "the catch."
The catch was one deserving student was put in the driver's seat that night and after some papers were signed, she is still driving that Jeep Renegade - that is 100 percent hers forever - around her college campus.
Our first winner was Jordan Collier from McLoud.
"I have had many people ask me if there was a catch," Collier said. "Some people even thought that I would only get to keep the car for a month."
The competition was fierce. Josh Trimble, the Director of Development at OBU, and Citizen Potawatomi Nation Vice Chair Linda Capps had a tough job as the judges for this competition. But after interviewing all 16 Student of the Month winners, they agreed that Collier was the best choice.
Four finalists won $500 scholarships and all Students of the Month won $200 to help with college expenses.
"My first semester has been great so far!" Collier said. "I can't even explain how incredible it has been having a brand new Jeep Renegade. It has been such a blessing and a relief to have one less expense."
Even in the interview process, Collier said she hoped that the good things she did in high school would be a good example to other McLoud students so they would want to help others and participate in programs at the school.
" I was actually very surprised to win because I have never heard of someone from McLoud winning an award of that honor," Collier said. "And it makes me feel great to be able to inspire younger students because that was always what I have aspired to do."
Her principal agreed with that.
"Kids were absolutely shocked she actually got a car," said McLoud High School Principal Rhonda Hockenbury. "Kids from McLoud are often not recognized for academics or for positive behavior and leadership. I have started a Leadership Class to help build young leaders at our school. Winning the car was proof to our students that they can 'win' and be successful!"
In case you are wondering, that is exactly why the gentlemen who own and operate Patriot CJDR do something as over the top as giving away a car. They have given away three and will give away three more this year.
They obviously want to reward the top senior student in the area, but beyond that, Manning and Knighton want to put a prize of this magnitude within reach so that students have another layer of encouragement to work hard in the classroom, stay active in school and give back to their communities.
This program is back in full swing. If you have a senior at Shawnee, Asher, Bethel, Chandler, Dale, Earlsboro, Macomb, Maud, McLoud, Meeker, Prague, Seminole, or Tecumseh, make sure your school is submitting a nominee each month. There will be 16 winners and one of those 16 will drive to college in a brand new Jeep Renegade.
It sounds to good to be true. This time, it isn't.
Patriot CJDR made sure that this program is real and it is incredible.
I can't wait to see the next group of winners. These students are the best of the best. It is inspiring to see the great things they are doing.