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Williston Central student wins radio contest

Nov. 17, 2011

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston resident Jared Avery, a sixth-grader at Williston Central School, won $1,000 in a radio contest sponsored by Lamoille Valley Ford in Hardwick. Avery’s 60-second spot — describing the free services Lamoille Valley provides to active military personnel — took first place honors out of more than 100 entries. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

How old were you the first time you had $1,000 to your name?

Sixteen?

Eighteen?

Thirty?

Jared Avery is 11. He’s a sixth-grader at Williston Central School. He’s a typical kid, interested in basketball, rollerblading and video games. But there’s one thing that sets him apart from his classmates: $1,000.

Avery won the grand by capturing first place in a student radio contest sponsored by Lamoille Valley Ford in Hardwick.

The rules: develop a 60-second radio advertisement describing the free services — such as oil changes, brake inspections and tire changeovers — that Lamoille Valley Ford provides to active military personnel.

Avery, with an assist from his father, Adam, pulled out all the stops — overlaying his voice on top of a multi-layered cacophony of drums and crunching rock guitar riffs, courtesy of the GarageBand computer program.

“Hi, my name is Jared, and I’m here to tell you all about the great things they’re doing for our servicemen and women at Lamoille Valley Ford,” the ad begins. It goes on to describe the “entire platoon of free services” Lamoille Valley provides to military men and women, and concludes: “So whether you’re an active military or patriotic civilian like me, come on over to Lamoille Valley Ford on Route 15, Hardwick, Vermont, where the troops are always supported.”

Dan Keene, owner of Lamoille Valley Ford, said Avery’s advertisement — which will be aired on 10 to 12 radio stations across the state — was a clear stand-out among the 100-plus entries.

“He explained our military service program accurately, first and foremost,” Keene said. “Then his energy and enthusiasm in doing the ad with a music background … he really went over the top in how he explained the program.”

Avery’s mother, Michelle, said she couldn’t be prouder.

“We’re ecstatic,” she said. “Jared can really do stuff if he’s motivated to win something.”

Jared Avery commented that $1,000 (minus taxes) is the most money he’s ever had in his life, although he’s already spent a few of his Benjamin Franklins.

“I bought an iPad, put $100 in my college (savings plan), $100 to my dad’s church and the rest of it I’m (going to) wait till Black Friday,” he said, adding that a PlayStation 3 will be among his Black Friday purchases.

Avery’s contributions to the community didn’t stop with the $100 donation to Mosaic Church. As part of the contest, Lamoille Valley Ford made a matching $1,000 pledge to the winning student’s school. In Avery’s case, the funds will be put toward two WCS programs: CY Mentoring, a program that pairs fifth to eighth grade students with dedicated mentors; and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, which focuses on reducing student behavioral problems through proactive and preventative tactics.

“(CY Mentoring’s) funds were cut significantly this year at the last minute, so this was really helpful to them,” said Jackie Parks, WCS principal. “It was a gift for us, because all funding is really tight this year. It makes a big difference.”

Avery said that it felt good to help out his school and that he wouldn’t hesitate to enter another radio contest if the opportunity arose.

“I enjoy money,” he said with a wide smile.

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