By Gilbert R. Boucher II gboucher@dailyherald.com

Zion-Benton High S 2013 Ford Fiesta du Kildeer on Tuesday.

 

Zion-Benton High School junior Ivette Enriquez, 17, nervously stood last in line as 12 students ahead of her put their keys into the ignition of a 2013 Ford Fiesta during the Operation Click awards ceremony Tuesday at Concorde Banquets in Kildeer.

When the student in front of her failed in his attempt to start the car, Enriquez stood in shock with the knowledge she had won. She stepped in the car and turned the key. The lights flashed, the engine came alive and the crowd cheered.

Enriquez then quickly broke the good news to her mother and put the conversation on speaker phone for all to hear: “Mom, I won the car.”

It was one of two cars Operation Click awarded Tuesday.
Palatine High School senior Nancy Cabrera, 17, also won a car, a 2014 Chevrolet Spark, in the Hoffman Estates chapter.

“I can’t believe it. I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack,” Cabrera said as she sat in her new car. “I feel like this is a dream and I don’t feel like it’s real.”

Operation Click is a program to encourage safe driving for young drivers in 47 high schools in northern Illinois and Wisconsin. It is sponsored by AAA Chicago.

Students who participate in the program sign a contract at the beginning of the school year, agreeing to drive safely and responsibly while behaving well in school in order to get a shot at winning a car.

“We have been operating this program since 1998, and every year we see seat belt compliance rates increase among high schools that participate in Operation Click,” Operation Click President Sean McGrath said in a written statement. “Students are also committed to driving distraction-free and complying with the state’s teen driving laws. We’re proud of how well schools and teens respond to this program and we see them making safe, smart choices with their driving habits.”

The peer-run program focuses on seat belt compliance, distracted driving, obeying the Graduated Driver License laws and abstaining from drinking and driving.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark was donated by Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical, while the 2013 Ford Fiesta was donated by Kunes Country Auto Group.