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Eureka High School Gets $100K

EUREKA - Principal Richard Wherley had known the results of State Farm's Celebrate My Drive Contest for days.
EUREKA - Principal Richard Wherley has known the results of State Farm's Celebrate My Drive Contest for days.

Despite pleading from some, he's kept the good news under wraps. As the crowd piled in for the varsity basketball game, no one knew why State Farm was in the house. Local agent Duane Schroeder knew why, but had to keep it under wraps.

"We got a great jump on it, starting at a football game the first day of the event and it's been going wild ever since," said Schroeder.

Eureka was in the small schools category, for fewer than 750 students. At first their goals were modest, a top 10 finish, which could mean a $25,000 grant.

"You tell the community, let's shoot for that, and then after day one, we're in the top five, everybody started jumping on board and realizing hey, if we continue to vote, there's a chance we can get a hundred grand," said Wherley.

Each day people were asked to take a pledge to drive safely, and then say which high school was theirs.

After the junior varsity basketball game ended, company officials took the court for the big announcement.

With a total of 68-thousand pledges, and Wherley says social media played a big role.

"We have a girl deployed overseas and a whole battalion pledged," said Wherley.

One of the first priorities is putting a marquee outside of the school. Plus, Wherley says he wants to make it useful for everyone.

"we really wanted to be a community oriented thing instead of just buying chrome or books, or things inside the building that people can't use," said Wherley.

And on this night of celebration, a school walked away with more than just safe driving plans.

It kind of just blows your mind. Until you get that check in your hands and actually see it. It's kind of a surreal experience," said Wherley.

All total, more than 6 million people made pledges across the nation.

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