Boyd County High School’s graduation ceremony on June 5, 2018 was the setting for one lucky graduate to receive the keys to a 2016 Ford Focus SE.
To be eligible to win, seniors had to maintain a 2.5 GPA, an attendance rate of 96 percent or higher, zero unexcused absences or tardies, zero in-school/out-of-school suspensions, and earn a state designation of college and/or career ready.
There were 38 seniors who qualified. They were assigned a number which was then painted on ping pong balls and, on the night of graduation, Mr. Hoyt Rorrer, sales manager at Bill Cole Automall, picked the winning ball out of a rotating cage. The chosen number, 18, belonged to Reace McKnight who graduated with Highest Honors (a GPA of 3.57 to 3.999).
“I was in shock! They had to tell me twice that they called my number,” said McKnight. “It’s not every day that you win a car!”
“She was shocked and thought they were messing with her,” said McKnight’s mother, Cynde Bishop. “She had jokingly said to Mr. Rorrer ‘Pick me, pick me’ and thought he was teasing her.”
Ms. Bishop knew her daughter’s number and says she immediately stood up and screamed.
“Who wins a car? It felt so surreal,” Bishop said. “I told Reace that 'For some reason, you just got blessed.'”
The car was generously donated by Bill Cole Automall in Ashland, Kentucky. Not only did they donate the car, which only had 3,100 miles on it, but they made sure it was as affordable as possible for the winner. The only fees attached to the vehicle were Kentucky tags and registration. The car also came with a life-time guarantee on the power train.
McKnight had been driving a 2000 model car with 180,000 miles on it. The car she won helps her mother worry a lot less. The grad will be attending Morehead State University in the fall and having dependable transportation is a tremendous relief.
“Bill Cole hooked me up,” McKnight said. “I now have a Bluetooth radio, which I didn’t have on my other car. I’ve always wanted one. And it takes any kind of gas. So, now I can buy the cheap stuff.” On a college student’s budget, the ability to ‘buy the cheap stuff’ certainly will come in handy.
McKnight plans to study radiology at Morehead State, earn her bachelor of science degree and pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric optometrist.
“I need to credit my mom for making me go to school,” said McKnight. “She was the greatest influence on me to keep at it.”
As the school year waned, it was tempting to skip school, as many of her classmates were doing. But, her mom reminded her she had a one-in-38 chance to win a car so skipping was out of the question.
“I used this as a Bible study lesson,” the mother said, “I reminded them that if you work hard to accomplish your goals and have faith that God will see you through, it all works out in the end! New car or not, Reace realizes that her high school years were definitely successful because she never gave up even when giving up would've been the easiest route to go.”
Rorrer said that Bill Cole Automall hopes to repeat the donation during the next few years.