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Wamego teacher calls winning car a ‘dream’

By Bryan Richardson

After patiently waiting for her moment, Jill Tanner finally received what she was seeking.

Tanner, a special education teacher at Wamego Middle School, won a 2012 Toyota Yaris at the eighth annual Little Apple Toyota car giveaway for teachers Tuesday. She attended the giveaway since it began.

The odds were greater than ever with a record 230 teachers from Clay, Geary, Pottawatomie, Riley and Wabaunsee county schools registering to be eligible to win the drawing.

“I don’t know if I can sleep tonight,” Tanner said. She was still on an emotional high 30 minutes after winning.

Tanner said she didn’t anticipate her luck changing Tuesday. “My husband did, but I did not,” she said. “I just assumed it would be a normal year.”

Her husband, Justin, said she deserved it because of her love of teaching and being at the giveaway every year. “It was time for a change in luck,” he said.

Tuesday’s giveaway was a way to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Day. “I feel very appreciated,” Tanner said. “The owner of Little Apple is awesome.”

Tom Holcombe, owner of Little Apple Toyota-Honda, said his desire to provide this opportunity for teachers is because his mom was a teacher.

“I don’t think our teachers are recognized as they should be,” Holcombe said. “They spend an enormous amount of time with our future every day.”

Holcombe also owns Capital City Nissan in Topeka, which held its ninth annual giveaway Monday. That was also won by a Wamego teacher – Angie McCune, a third-grade teacher at West Elementary School.

After eight years of waiting to win a car, Tanner said she will be back next year as a spectator to wait for the next winner. “I plan on coming back to support my fellow teachers,” she said. “It’s a dream to ever win something like this. It is a dream.”

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