On Friday, May 16, 50 deserving Jeremiah Burke High School students each received a key that they hoped would start the 1999 Saab 9.3 that Village Automotive Group had donated as part of their Keys to Success program. One by one, each student tried to start the grand prize in a school year-long program that rewarded students for their positive efforts in attendance, community service and academic improvement.
With less than half of the students remaining, the lucky key finally showed itself in the hands of Kwami Nicholas, a 16-year-old sophomore from Dorchester. As Niccholas turned the key, he looked on in disbelief as the engine started and he realized that he was now sitting in his car.
Ray Ciccolo - owner of event sponsor Village Automotive Group-- conceived of The Keys to Success program, which was launched last fall by the dealership in conjunction with six Massachusetts high schools to encourage and motivate students to excel in the classroom. In addition to the Jeremiah Burke High School, the program is also at Brighton High School, Danvers High School, Madison Park Vocational Technical School, Norwood High School and Waltham High School.Ciccolo stated, "Even though only one of you will take home a car today, you should all be very excited and proud of your accomplishments. Today's event is a gathering to recognize each and every one of your accomplishments throughout this year."
Throughout the school year, students had been able to cash in their "key cards" to redeem prizes from the program's website, villageautomotivekeys.com. Other program sponsors included Dunkin Donuts, Fox 4 Paintball, Papa Gino's, Entercom, Audio Answer and Direct Tire.
"Kwami has worked hard throughout the year to improve his attendance and performance and he is very deserving of this honor," said Jeremiah Burke High School Headmaster Carol Bradley Moore.