CAR CZARS

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LOREN BENOIT/Press Post Falls High grad Kalli Minden reacts to winning a 2017 Nissan Versa Sedan Tuesday afternoon at Findlay Nissan’s car giveaway. Graduates from Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lake City had to have perfect attendance or maintain a 3.5 GPA to qualify to win.

POST FALLS — Kalli Minden has gone from driving a 2000 Chevy pickup to owning a new 2017 Nissan Versa sedan.

The future University of Idaho student's name was drawn on Tuesday at Findlay Nissan from about 35 graduates from Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene and Lake City who either had perfect attendance or maintained at least a 3.5 GPA.

About 150 students qualified to win, but if they didn't attend the ceremony, their name wasn't entered in the drawing.

"It's so crazy — I won a car," said Minden, a Post Falls High graduate who was visibly shaking as she was texting soon after she won. The car is valued at $15,015.

When Minden's mother, Carrie, texted her husband, Chad, about the car, she promptly received a stumped message in return.

"Are you messing with me?" Carrie said, reading Chad's text out loud.

Carrie said Kalli, who played volleyball at Post Falls and plans to major in business, hasn't won anything in her life.

"We're very proud of her," Carrie said. "She's harder on herself (with academics and other endeavors) than we are."

Kalli said she has been working to save money for a car. Her most recent job is with Post Falls Parks and Recreation.

"I never thought I'd win," she said. "When they got down to the last six, I became super nervous."

Carrie said the truck Kalli has been driving is "about to die."

"This car is perfect for her," she said.

Kalli earned a chance to win with her grades.

After it was announced she was the winner, Nate Buer, another Post Falls graduate who was runner-up, gave Kalli a congratulatory hug.

This was Findlay Automotive Group's second Raise the Bar — Win a Car! drawing. Of the 150 graduates who qualified with good grades, 14 also had perfect attendance and were given a second chance to win.

"The whole purpose is to help the schools and the kids," said Jerry Thrasher, marketing director for Findlay Auto Post Falls. "We want kids to stay in school and get better grades so our schools will outperform the rest of the state. We believe over time this will help grades rise."

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