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FILLMORE : Girl Won’t Have to Pay for College by Selling Car She Won

A Fillmore girl who won a new Dodge Colt in a drawing during Fillmore Senior High School’s graduation night festivities will not have to sell the car to pay for her college education.

But because Gabriela Avila, 18, applied too late for an on-campus parking place, her shiny red $7,500 car will remain in Fillmore when she moves into her dormitory at the UC Santa Barbara in September.

Avila said she had been prepared to sell the car she won June 13 if her scholarship did not come through.

But she learned that she has been awarded a combination of scholarships, grants and loans that will cover all but $1,000 of the $10,000 she will need for her first year.

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“I was so relieved,” Avila said. “I’ll be getting a work-study job, so I should be able to earn the rest.”

Avila is the first of the six children in her family to attend college, and the move to the dorm will be her first experience living away from home.

“I’ve never been out of Fillmore before, except to visit in Mexico a couple of times,” she said.

“I’ve only been to Los Angeles about twice.”

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Avila said her older sister will care for the car in her absence.

“She’s the only other person in the family who can drive a stick shift,” Avila said.

Her own battles with the standard shift caused some embarrassing stalls on Fillmore’s Central Avenue, but Avila said those problems are over.

“Hopefully I won’t forget how to drive it while I’m away,” she said.

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