I don’t know the exact number but since I started the program 17 years ago it’s safe to say nearly 600 Ocean County high school seniors have been honored as a WOBM/Gateway Toyota Student of the Week

Kevin and Gateway Toyota General Sales Manager Michael Dowd (Shawn Micahels, Townsquare Media NJ)

38 of them received the distinction during the current school year as every Monday from September until June I told you about their achievements on 92.7 WOBM.  All the weekly honorees were saluted on air and online and also received a framed certificate from us.  In a couple of hours one of them will get some help when it comes to the money they will need as a college freshman in the fall.

When we established the Student of the Week program with the 1996 school year the idea was to simply promote the positive contributions so many students make to their school and community, often with so little recognition.  We found a willing partner in Gateway Toyota, a dealership with a history of supporting youth organizations and endeavors.

After the first couple of years we decided to not only salute the students on the radio but to provide a scholarship and the only fair way was to conduct a random drawing.  I mean how to you separate the best from the best because all of the weekly honorees posses great characteristics.

Some are scholars, some of standout athletes, some are talented ,musicians, most are involved in many extracurricular activities and many give their time to community projects.

A few combine all of those traits which is why they are off to Stevens Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech, Duke, Northeastern, Rutgers, Penn State, MIT, RPI, NYU and the United States Military Academy.  Simply put these are some extraordinary 17 and 18 year olds and they represent our hope for the future.

So earlier this morning at 8:20 on 92.7 WOBM  Gateway Toyota General Sales Manager Michael Dowd reached into a drawing jug and select one name from the 38….two from each of Ocean County’s 18 high schools plus the MATES and Performing Arts Academy which is part of the Vocational-Technical School District.

The winner is: Chris Nolze of Toms River South.

Listen to the moment Chris' name was announced

He gets a $1000 with Gateway Toyota and WOBM each putting up $500 to help with their college costs.  The other 37 will get the satisfaction of knowing their accomplishments were recognized and we wish them all the best in the future.