The effort Aric Bunch put into advanced placement courses at Calhoun High School his senior year put wheels on his college career.
Mr. Bunch was among 15 Calhoun High students in advanced placement -- or "AP" -- whose names went into a hat for a drawing at the end of the school year. A mountain bike was the prize. AP programs allow high school students to take college-level courses and exams for college credit.
"I was surprised because I had never won any kind of a drawing like that before," Mr. Bunch said. "I was pretty happy; it was a good prize."
Mr. Bunch said the bike will come in handy when he heads to class this fall at Berry College in Rome, Ga., home of the World's Largest Campus with more than 26,000 acres.
"I know I'm going to want to go around and look at it, and I know the bike will help me out," he said.
AP coursework and exams helped him get into Berry, he said.
Calhoun High AP coordinator Jackie Palazzolo launched the bicycle giveaway last year. She got the idea from a workshop in which someone said their school gave away a car, she said.
Mrs. Palazzolo said her husband, Marcus, owns a local cycle shop and North Georgia National Bank was willing to buy the bike for the drawing. Students who took at least three different AP exams were eligible.
Officials hope to add a second bike so there's one for a boy and a girl, she said.
Calhoun High principal Wanda Westmoreland said 386 AP exams were given this year. The result of pushing for high AP participation is that the Calhoun graduates who enroll in college are more likely to stay there, Ms. Westmoreland said.
She said Mr. Bunch deserved the prize.
"He's just wonderfully fabulous person all the way around," she said. "He's not a nerd, but he's got a brain. I think I'm a better person for having known him."