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Perrysburg H.S. senior wins Hyundai Elantra


Melissa Schoenlein, 18, laughs with her friends right after she won the new Hyundai Elantra.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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Melissa Schoenlein joked with her mother that she would be the one of more than 340 Perrysburg High School seniors to win the Driven to Succeed drawing for a new car before school on Wednesday. 

It came to fruition when she won a 2014 Hyundai Elantra, meaning the two of them no longer have to share a Pontiac Grand Am. 

“She said, ‘You are going to win it, right?,’ I said, ‘Of course,’” the high school senior said. “I was not serious, but I won.”

Her name was one of the 10 initially drawn by Principal Michael Short from scores of names on paper inside a large cylinder crate, and then narrowed down to three students who attempted to start a car inside the school‘s auditorium.

But only Ms. Schoenlein‘s did. She let a beaming smile and numerous thank yous. 

It is the fifth year of the giveaway. Seniors names were chosen from a batch of names, and students were able to have more entries with their names on it for each “A” grade, each sport or extra-curricular activity, and for teacher recommendations, as well as for good attendance and no disciplinary issues.

RELATED CONTENT: Photo gallery of the event.

After watching their senior class video during their last day of school, the giveaway began.

Mr. Short said it is a great way to end the school year. He said it is a less formal celebration of all that students have done, and it comes just days before the formal ceremony of graduation on Sunday.

There were 10 students whose names were initially drawn, then envelopes reduced the number of students to three, each of whom had a car key. Those three students got in three 2014 Hyundai Elantras but only one would start.

Ms. Schoenlein’s did. The base price of a new Elantra is about $18,000.

“This is super crazy,” she said. “I was just excited to be one of the (first) 10 selected.”

She is a 18-year old band student that is going to Bowling Green State University to study psychology.

Scott Schleuter was chosen by Ms. Schoenlein as her favorite teacher to get a $250 gas card from Taylor Hyundai.

The other nine finalist students received gift cards.

Stephen Taylor II, running Taylor Hyundai in Perrysburg, was the emcee of the event. He also gave the students some tips for success and setting goals as they head into the next stage of their lives. 

“It is a great way to give back to students and promote good attendance, and extra-curricular activities,” he said. “The most fun thing I‘ve done is watching how excited they are with their friends.”

Ms. Schoenlein had fun with her friends and drove them around the parking lot, but couldn’t get a hold of her mother to give her the news. She said her mom had to be home, because she took the car to school. The two will be driving up to Taylor Hyundai soon to finish the paperwork for the car -- the dealership covers taxes and title costs, too.

One minor inconvenience to winning is having four TV cameras inches from her face right after she won the car.

“It was crazy and scary,” she said. “I‘m not a huge fan of talking in front of people.”

Contact Matt Thompson at:, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25


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