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Test drives help schools
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Test driving a new car isn’t just for people looking to put a shiny set of new wheels in their driveway.

It helps students as well.

Through Ford’s Drive One 4 Ur School Program and Phil Waterford’s Manteca Ford-Mercury, all three Manteca High Schools were able to raise money by booking valid test drives over the course of a month. The Detroit-based auto manufacturer then donated $20 for each one completed, and the money was delivered Wednesday afternoon.

Once everything wrapped up, Manteca High School stood firmly in the lead with 117 test drives ($2,340) while Sierra finished with 56 ($1,120) and East Union with 50 ($1,000).

According to Kathy Ruble, Manteca High will split the money between the leadership and academic boosters clubs – both of which lobbied extensively to support the program.

“When programs like these are operating on a shoestring budget, any chance to raise money is helpful,” Ruble said. “They do so many things for the students and the Manteca High community.”

East Union’s JROTC Program will receive the stipend handed out Wednesday while the Sierra High Athletic Boosters will benefit from the time that supporters took to take a drive in a brand new Ford.

But if you were to ask to Phil Waterford about the most important thing the program, which was started in 2010, brings to the community, exposure for his dealership isn’t even something that’s mentioned.

With budget cuts eliminating programs and preventing the start of others, Waterford said that he wanted to do his part to make sure that local students can enjoy all of the benefits that will help prepare them for adulthood – regardless of what that might be.

“I don’t want there to be a situation where a kid can’t participate in something because budget cuts have made it impossible,” Waterford said. “I don’t want people to think about why their kids don’t have all of the opportunities that they need to make it.

“And I truly believe that if we care we can change anything. On the surface $20 for a test drive doesn’t seem like very much, but it can make a difference for students in programs that are struggling for funding. That’s really what this is all about.”









To contact Jason Campbell, email or call (209) 249-3544.