Somebody always goes for the Camaro.

And why not? What better way to cruise into summer than behind the wheel of a candy red 2017 Chevy Camaro RS with the windows down and the radio blasting out your favorite station?

That’s the car that Whitney Sellars picked out. And, as she sat behind the wheel in the black and tan leather driver’s seat, the fourth grade teacher from Press Elementary and McKinney ISD 2017 Elementary Teacher of the Year was all smiles.

Paul Stephens, the MISD 2017 Secondary Teacher of the Year, went for a silver 2017 Chevy Traverse. It was a slightly more practical pick for the band director from Scott Johnson Middle School—but still, a gorgeous vehicle (and also capable of providing windows-down-radio-blasting moments).

When Sellars and Stephens drove their new cars off the lot on Monday, May 22, perhaps the sweetest part of the deal was that neither of them had to pay a penny.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at El Dorado Chevrolet and Mazda in McKinney, Sellars and Stephens won’t have to worry about a payment on either of those vehicles (or any others that they may swap them out for) over the next year.

2017 marks the third straight year that El Dorado has honored the McKinney ISD Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year with the use of a new car, free of charge, for an entire year. “We just like to show our appreciation for everything that they do for our community, to give back,” said El Dorado Director of Operations Guy Gibbs.

El Dorado has been a longtime partner of the district, and they love to show their support for teachers. They sponsor local radio station KLAK’s Teacher of the Month program and donated the car that was given away as the final door prize at last year’s Projection Graduation celebration.

MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel said, “We’re proud to continue our relationship with El Dorado Chevrolet, and we’re so thankful to have them as a partner. That they offer our teachers the opportunity to drive a new car for a year is certainly worthy of what the teachers do for our students, and we truly appreciate the gesture.”

When Sellars and Stephens arrived on the lot last week, Gibbs and his colleagues basically told them to take their pick.

“Honestly, I absolutely feel blessed to do what I do everyday,” Sellars said. “It’s something that I’m called to do, and so it feels really good that people recognize the work that you do—because you don’t go into education looking for bells and whistles and trophies. You go in just wanting to make a difference in the lives of children—and that’s hard. So, it really means a lot that someone is saying, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing.’”

As far as the Camaro is concerned, “Well, I’ve never had anything sporty in my life,” Sellars said. “I’ve always just had second-hand or hand-me-down cars or things like that, and I thought, ‘Well, since I have the opportunity, I’m going to with something sporty at first.’”

Stephens also expressed his appreciation for El Dorado and for the outpouring of support he has received since being selected as the district’s standout secondary teacher. “It’s pretty overwhelming,” he said. “The whole [Teacher of the Year] experience has been pretty overwhelming. It’s gratifying to know that people recognize your hard work and your dedication. I’ve taught for so long here in the district that I’ve had so many people from all generations come to me about it, and it’s been pretty overwhelming.”

And, while he chose an SUV to start out with, Stephens has had his eye on a Camaro as well. “I’ll probably splurge sometime this year and get the muscle car, but right now, being a band director, I kind of feel like I need to have some cargo space,” he said with a chuckle.

Photo: El Dorado Chevrolet and Mazda in McKinney provided the MISD Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year with a new car to drive for a year, free of charge. (l-r) McKinney ISD Partners in Education Director Nancy Cowlishaw, El Dorado Chevrolet and Mazda Director of Operations Guy Gibbs, 2017 MISD Secondary Teacher of the Year Paul Stephens, 2017 MISD Elementary Teacher of the Year Whitney Sellars, and MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel.