RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

High schoolers win used cars at Village Automotive dealers

Posted by Bill Griffith  May 24, 2011 05:27 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article


(Dan Leahy/Village Automotive Group)

Danvers High School junior Kelsey O'Brien bursts with joy after winning a 2005 Hyundai Elantra.

The scene at Peabody High School's field house was one of anticipation. There was a big prize to be won on this afternoon, but despite the venue, it didn't involve athletics.

On Thursday, twenty students from Danvers and Peabody High got in facing lines. Each had a key in hand, a prize they'd won during the year-long "Keys to Success" program sponsored by local merchants and aimed at fostering student achievement, citizenship, and attendance.

One of those keys would start a 2005 red Hyundai Elantra donated by Village Automotive Group. General manager Tony Bartolotti of Hyundai Village of Danvers was there to make the presentation official.

A week earlier, at Honda Village of Newton Corner, 60 high school students from Brighton High, Jeremiah Burke, Madison Park, and Waltham took part in a similar final chance to win a car, this one a certified pre-owned Toyota Corolla.


(Dan Leahy/Village Automotive Group)

Jean Michel Estime, of Roxbury, won a Toyota Corolla.

Each student had a chance. One after the other they tried their keys until only two were left. The 59th, Jean Michel Estime of Roxbury, a senior at Madison Park, tried his key and the Corolla started.

Jean, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti three years ago, was a two-time winner this year. He also was one of 11 students to win a 2011 Northeastern University Torch Scholarship for a summer immersion program and eight semesters of undergraduate study.

As excited as he was to win the car, he's giving it to his mom to drive.

Christine Caron, general manager of Honda Village, called the car giveaways "my favorite days of the year."

The suspense didn't last as long at Peabody. The eighth student to try a key — Danvers junior Kelsey O'Brien — was the winner. The look on her face as the key started the car was priceless.

As confetti showered the car, she grabbed the microphone from program coordinator Michelle Roselli. "I'm so excited. Thank you very much," O'Brien said.

O'Brien, a high school and F.C. Boston Azzurri soccer player who also runs track, earned her key by volunteering to help students in a special needs class.

Dan Leahy, general manager of Boston Volvo Village and Audi & Porsche of Norwell, is the in-house photographer for the awards.

"This is a great program and a great day," he said, "but the day I'll never forget was three years ago at Brighton. A young man won the car and called his dad and said, 'You can get a job now because you have a car to get to work.' It was one of those 'wow' moments when you realize how much a car can mean to a family and how many things a lot of us take for granted in life."

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article


About Boston Overdrive reports the latest trends, auto shows and wrings out the newest cars in our city's hellish maze — and across the great roads of New England.
Follow Cars on Facebook



Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
archives racing coverage

Dale Earnhardt Jr. shocked by Juan Montoya's departure from No. 42
By Michael Vega, Globe Staff LOUDON, N.H. --- Dale Earnhardt Jr., like most of his NASCAR brethren, was surprised to learn Tuesday that Juan Pablo...

More on Cars