Teen donates portion of scholarship money to family of classmate killed in crash

A small southwest Florida town has seen lots of heartbreak and pain in the past few weeks. But, despite it all, people in Clewiston are coming together during these rough times.

Over the weekend, a high school graduate decided to donate a portion of her winnings to the family who lost their son in a crash just one day before their graduation.

The moment Annette Blanco found out she won a car from Alan Jay Dealership, she was thrilled. But what she did next might come as a shock to some people.

The dealership has a program that rewards graduating seniors for getting A’s. But instead of taking the car, she did something else.

“Annette has decided to take the 10 thousand dollars in cash.”

She did take the cash and donated a portion of it to Julian Avalo’s family. He was a classmate of hers who died in a car crash just hours before he was set to walk across the stage.

“I said ‘you know, I doubt I’m going to win it but if I do I’m going to be more than happy to give him some’ and you know I got it,” Blanco said.

Blanco says even though she wasn’t close to Julian, that you don’t need to be close to feel the pain.

“I think it hit me hard because I lost my cousin the same way he did or the same way we lost him. So I think it just hit me a lot more than I would think. So you know, I wasn’t really able to do much for my cousin but now that I was in a position to help his family you know I did,” she said.

David Garcia is the general manager at the Alan Jay dealership in Clewiston.

“It was just very heartwarming to know that she wants to give back to the family,” Gacia said. “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.”

Julian’s parents say it’s because of Annette’s donation, and the donations of many others, that they are able to give Julian the funeral he deserves.

Carlos Avalo is Julian’s father. “I mean no parent should go through this ordeal. To bury their child I keep hearing from everyone that time and time will go by and you’ll feel better. But this community has been very special and they’ve been standing behind Julian because of the way he was,” Avalo said.

Originally, Blanco offered to give half of the money but the family couldn’t accept that. They knew she needed money for college too. So, she decided to give them $1,000.

Blanco says she hopes her selfless act shows others that even just a little kindness can go a long way.

And, her selflessness will continue. Blanco wants to go to college and study medicine.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Drew Hill
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