Local high school students who excel in their studies and earn a grade of 3 or better on any Advance Placement (AP) exams will have another chance to drive off in a brand new car next summer.
Butler Board of Education Member Cynthia Sokoloff announced at Monday’s meeting that Mark Mickens, vice president of the Route 23 Automall was going to sponsor the AP Challenge again this year.
Last year, AP students from Butler High School and Kinnelon High School, as well as Pompton Lakes High School and Pequannock High School, were rewarded for studying hard and doing well on their exams. Students who received a grade of 3 or better on the exams had a chance to drive away in a brand new 2012 Ford Fiesta. Other prizes that were up for grabs included five laptops and an iPad.
Superintendent Mario Cardinale said the actual car giveaway, in July, was a large event that drew a crowd of nearly 300 young people, with their families, friends, teachers and school administrators.
“They had done well, academically,” he said. “This was the reward at the end of the path.”
At the conclusion of the event, it was Dave Zwoboda, valedictorian of the Pompton Lakes High School Class of 2012, who won the Fiesta.
The event, which Cardinale said encouraged students to do well, was the brainstorm of Marge Giles and Sokoloff, both Butler High School retired staff members, based on a similar program sponsored by a car dealership in Clarksville, Tenn. They approached Cardinale, who gave them the go-ahead to seek sponsorship. The two then met with Mickens, a Butler High School graduate, who agreed to support the program with a new vehicle.
Monday night, Cardinale recognized Mickens, Sokoloff and Giles, presenting them with framed Certificates of Appreciation for their efforts in planning and implementing the AP Challenge.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without Mr. Cardinale,” Sokoloff said.
She said he was out soliciting donations and had attended every planning meeting.
“He has so many roles, yet he took on one more job with great enthusiasm,” she said.
While Mickens was unable to attend the board meeting, Sokoloff did announce that Mickens had already committed to donating another brand new vehicle so that the AP Challenge could continue in the current school year.