by: PHOTO BY: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Kate Braidwood, co-owner of touring company Wonderheads Theatre, celebrates winning a new Scion and $10,000 on Thursday.County commissioners never declared an official “Local Car Dealerships Give Back Day,” but last week the North Clackamas area seemed to be celebrating anyway.

Toyota/Scion of Gladstone, 19375 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., awarded a free car and $10,000 on April 18 to one of 10 U.S. winners of an entrepreneurial contest, while Brooks Motor Co., 18777 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., gave $500 to John Wetten Elementary students as part of an essay contest.

Northeast Portland resident Kate Braidwood and her touring company Wonderheads Theatre won a new Scion, the cash and a mentorship through a national contest to honor “young entrepreneurs serious about their passions.”

Braidwood impressed the judges in the Scion-sponsored “Motivate” contest by saying her theater company’s oversize masks outgrew her old car.

“Because the Wonderheads Theatre is a touring company, a reliable vehicle that can transport their theater equipment is imperative,” Scion said in a statement to the press.

Meanwhile, Brooks Motor Co. hopes its essay contest becomes an annual event every spring. Company representative Bradford Thompson said employees were “floored” by the quality of writing in response to the essay topic of “My Best Friend.”

“We expected age-appropriate writing, but what we received were very well-developed essays, which were both technically impressive with regards to writing ability and content-rich essays, which were both enjoyable and emotionally moving,” Thompson said. “Choosing only five winners was very difficult, and we wish we could have given everyone an award.”

Brooks Motor owner Gary Brooks presented Zack Fairfield, Riley Doolittle, Henry Fisher, Jensin Garcia and Emily Barbour with plaques etched with their name and instructor, along with the check to John Wetten Elementary.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: BROOKS MOTOR CO. - Pictured from left to right are John Wetten Elementary students Zack Fairfield, Riley Doolittle, Henry Fisher, Jensin Garcia, Emily Barbour and Gary Brooks, owner of Brooks Motor Co.

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