Lake City student wins a car

Tom Addis Auto Group awards outstanding senior for 13th year

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Clint Hartz tries to convince his mother he won a new car from Tom Addis Automotive Group during the dealership's outstanding senior car giveaway Wednesday at Lake City High School. Hartz was one of 143 students in this year's senior class from Lake City, Coeur d'Alene, Lakeland, Post Falls, Timberlake high schools and Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy who were selected because they were the top 10 percent academically.

COEUR d'ALENE - Clint Hartz called his mom first.

The Lake City High senior stood in the parking lot of Lake City High School Wednesday as he spoke to his mother, Stephanie Hartz, by cell phone.

"Hi mom. I've got some interesting news," Hartz, 18, said.

Pause.

"I guess it's kind of good. It turns out I won a car."

Pause. "Yeah, I did ... This is real ... No, I'm telling you the truth," Hartz said.

Moments earlier, Hartz's name had been called in a lottery that won him a 2011 Dodge Caliber.

The annual car giveaway, in its 13th year, gives students in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes at six area high schools - Timberlake, Lakeland, Lake City, Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy - the chance to start life after graduation with a brand new set of wheels.

Hartz said he was excited about winning. He has a car, he said, but: "It's about to break down any day now."

He'll be driving his new Dodge to Moscow later this summer. Hartz will be attending the University of Idaho, where he plans to study engineering.

Hartz took his new wheels for a short spin around the high school parking lot, and wore a big grin as he climbed out of the vehicle.

"Sweet," he said.

Lake City High School Principal Deanne Clifford said the high schools deeply appreciate that Lake City Ford and Tom Addis Dodge do this each year.

"The important thing is that it adds another layer of support for kids who are doing the right things," Clifford said.

Prior to the drawing, Sara Colbert, one of the general managers of Tom Addis Automotive Group, spoke to the 143 qualifying students who gathered Wednesday at Lake City High School.

"We know from the past 13 years that the students who have won these vehicles have been incredible kids, like you all are," Colbert said.

The automotive dealership has maintained contact with many of the previous winners, Colbert said, and watched them continue their education after high school and reach their goals, in part, because of the car that was given to them.

"It's just a wonderful program," she said.

Tom Addis will pay the sales tax, leaving Hartz responsible for the insurance, and some income taxes come April 15.

Lake City High School vice principal Jim Winger coached Hartz on the school's basketball team, and said he is a "top-notch kid," who never misses class, and works hard to achieve good grades.

"I like to say good things happen to good people, and this certainly is the case," Winger said.

Hartz's mom, Stephanie, later told The Press she was convinced her son was pulling her leg about winning a car, until he offered to "put the lady from Tom Addis on the phone."

"Exciting doesn't even seem to be the appropriate word," Stephanie said. "He is such a good kid. I just can't even begin to tell you how lucky his father and I are."

She said her son carries a 4.0 grade point average while playing sports.

"I couldn't be happier for him. He deserves it. He's worked so hard," she said.

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