McARTHUR — A Vinton County High School senior recently made a special call to her mom while at school.
“Hey mom, I just won a new car,” Isabelle Lambert said through the phone. “Yeah, I’m serious!”
The VCHS senior won the grand prize — a 2018 Ford Fiesta — of Vinton County’s Driven to Succeed program. Introduced earlier this school year, the local program is modeled after a national version known as Keys to Success.
Driven to Succeed served as an optional program for local seniors in high school to be provided with drug education, screenings and counseling opportunities. A special incentive to enlist in the program was the possibility of winning a car. All students walked out of the year-end ceremony on May 2 with gift cards and other prizes donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals.
The program was completely voluntary and included multiple requirements. One such requirement was having to consent to taking three random drug tests; the students’ legal guardians also consented to their student undergoing these tests. Other requirements involved maintaining a good grade, adhering to attendance goals and honoring the school’s Code of Conduct.
Students were also required to write essays and fulfill community service hours.
Vinton County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown led the program and said one lesson she hoped students learned was the importance of community.
“Lots of people suffering from addiction don’t feel a sense of community,” Kimes-Brown said.
By donating their time and labor to community projects, the prosecutor said, students could see how they are connected to the county. Both Kimes-Brown and some students spoke of their wish to see the program continue next academic year.
“It’s for a great cause,” said senior class president Garrison George. “I hope next year it turns out even better.”
Principal Joshua Tripp noted no student was disqualified from the program due to results from drug screenings.
Participating students also included Trafford Dunn, Brandon Holley, Jessica Logsdon, Jazmynn Sharp, Melissa LeMay, Jaci Martin, Trey Speakman, Jordan Eberts, Cassidy Griffith, Gunnar Barnett, Casey Ziegler, Garrison George, Hope Saunders, Breanna McFadden, Grace Davidson and Olivia Caudill.
Funds for the program came from the prosecutor’s office, and the car was purchased from Mark Porter Autoplex in Athens.