Test Drive-a-thon: Take a ‘spin’ and high school wins

Want an easy way to help the local high school raise $10,000? Go take a ride!

Port St. Lucie High School is hosting a test drive-a-thon later this month courtesy of Garber Buick GMC.

All the school needs is 500 people over the age of 21 to spare a few minutes of their time to slip behind the wheel of a vehicle and then complete a survey.

Principal Adrian Ocampo is confident they can drum up that many people between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. Already, the principal is crafting a list of things the $10,000 could be put toward.

“I have several goals,” he said, explaining that the funds raised would be split between the clubs and athletic teams that bring out the test drivers, and the school proper.

For each test driver who registers on behalf of a club, activity or sport, that organization will get $5.

Sharing in the fund-raiser is expected to help increase the number of test drives.

This is the fourth test drive fund-raiser for Garber Buick GMC, located in Fort Pierce, which started the program in 2016 with Fort Pierce Central High. Treasure Coast High and St. Lucie West Centennial High have also benefited. “They are so excited,” said Sheila Cash, the point-person at Garber. “And we’re so excited for them.”

She said it’s a program the Buick representative had rolled out elsewhere – but not here, not before 2016. The rep met with the School District and School Board and decided to throw support to the area schools, Cash said.

“It’s the easiest money they’ll ever make,” Cash said, explaining that all the school needs to do is bring the people; Buick handles the rest. “It’s a great, great program,” she said, adding that the purpose is to support the school, not to sell cars. However, anyone who does buy can choose a school to receive a $100 donation from Garber.

Among those planning to participate in the test drive event on April 21 is Mayor Gregory Oravec, who has encouraged the city’s government departments to participate as well. “We are doing everything we can to be active partners with the School District,” Oravec said. “Port St. Lucie (High) is a school on the rise, we think. They’re on their way to an A,” he added, referencing the school’s current B grade.

The test drive is expected to be held in the rear parking lot near the tennis courts. The drive itself will last about a minute – maybe two. But it will only count toward the fund-raiser if the driver completes a survey after the drive.

In all, Cash expects test drivers to be in and out in about 10 minutes – 15 minutes tops – from registration through survey.

Along with using the funds to help with extracurriculars and the like, Ocampo hopes to have enough left over to spruce up the campus – whether its purchasing new desks for classrooms or touching up the paint on the walls. “There’s always new things to purchase,” he said, explaining that the district allocates what it can to maintain the school – but a fund-raiser such as this “speeds up the process.”

Ocampo and the school are planning on turning the test drive fund-raiser into an open house for the various clubs, organizations and sports.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” he said, adding that the band and cheerleaders will perform, the Health Club will be passing out information and the numerous groups will have representatives talking up their organizations. And, the ROTC will be serving up barbecue, hotdogs and chips – for a nominal donation.

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