Career Studies student earns car prize

June 06, 1997


Staff Writer

Some kids can't wait for the last day of school to be over. Others are anxious to see their grades.

But at the Career Studies Center on Friday, everybody wanted a car.

The car, a 1991 Hyundai Sonata, was the result of a year-long incentive program designed to increase attendance and academic performance, said Marie Bikle, a cosmetology teacher and creator of the program.

"We are the only school that has the facilities and the ability to repair the car," Bikle said. "We are going to try and make this an annual event."


The car was donated to the school by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force. The Hagerstown City Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Maryland State Police are all involved with the task force.

"The sheriff made it happen," Bikle said. "The car was `donated' by a drug dealer."

The car is valued at up to $3,000 depending on its condition, an official at Massey Hyundai in Hagerstown said.

As all the students piled into the cafeteria for the awards ceremony they only had the car on their minds. It was all they talked about. Bikle said she had goose bumps while waiting for the name to be read.

Seth Kaufmann, 16, of Jefferson Boulevard in Hagerstown, was the lucky winner of the car. As Principal Arnold Hammann called Kaufmann's name, a roar of approval sounded from the 200 students assembled.

"Are you sure you want this?" Hammann asked, teasing as he held the keys out of Kaufmann's reach.

Kaufmann replied with a hardy grin, "Oh, yeah!"

Kaufmann, a junior, is in the Automotive Technology program at the Career Studies Center and participated in preparing of the car for the contest. Kaufmann said he joked with everybody that he was going to win.

"Mostly, seniors did the work, but we (juniors) made sure it was clean all the time," Kaufmann said. "Mostly, I did detailing."

Students got their names put into the pot by earning chances through good attendance and making the honor roll, Hammann said.

"There were 214 students in the pot," Hammann said. "And there were 592 chances."

Kaufmann said he had nine chances because he was on the honor roll and had perfect attendance for the first three quarters.

"I knew I had a lot of chances, but I guess it was just the luck of the draw," Kaufmann said. "I'm shocked because the whole time we were working on the car I was like, `Don't touch my car,' and `Leave my car alone.'"

Kaufmann has been working for Monro Mufflers and Brakes on Northern Avenue for about one month and said he plans to continue working there this summer.

"My other car needs to have some work done to it," Kaufmann said. "I'll probably sell it."

Kaufmann said he owed some money to his father because of his old car, a 1991 Chevy Cavalier, so if he sells it he will be able to pay him back and also pay for the tags, title and insurance for his Hyundai.

Bikle said the students at the Career Studies Center are well worth the effort of launching the incentive program and obtaining the car.

"They are asked to give up the security of their home school," Bikle said. "They have earned our respect when they walk through our front door. We do what we can to make them feel welcome."

At the assembly, Hammann called the program a success.

"We hope to make it a continuing project," Hammann said. "Attendance has improved and I cannot help but think this car had something to do with it."

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