A job well done does indeed comes with its share of perks.

There's no doubt the four years of hard work Nicole Czarnecki put into her academic studies has paid off.

Czarnecki, a senior at Northern Lehigh High School, was a recipient of a $5,000 Pennsylvania Automotive Association Foundation Community Service Scholarship, given in recognition of outstanding service, dedicated involvement and ongoing commitment to the well-being of the greater community.

Czarnecki was one of 11 students from schools across the state chosen to receive the award for her active involvement in charitable organizations.

She recently received the scholarship at Rentschler Chevrolet Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Slatington.

"I'm very humbled; I really didn't think I was going to get it," Czarnecki said. "Only 11 students get it, and it's a big state."

Czarnecki, who is ranked first in her graduation class, said she made a vow to her deceased grandfather that she would excel.

"I've been working on that for four years," she said. "I told my grandfather, who passed away three months into my freshman year; and I've been working ever since to be number one in my class."

Fred Rentschler, co-owner, said he knows Czarnecki is the right person for the scholarship.

"She makes us extremely proud, with how hard she works," Rentschler said. "We know she will be a great success."

Czarnecki is the daughter of Michael Czarnecki, the service manager at Rentschler Chevrolet Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

"He's a very integral part, and has been with us for over 20 years," Rentschler said. "He is so smart."

The PAA represents the more than 900 franchised new car and truck dealers in the state. Recipients are the children of employees who work, but have no ownership interest, in Pennsylvania franchised new car and truck dealerships.

Czarnecki plans to attend Penn State University next fall, where she will major in marketing and Chinese. Her career goal is to work in the corporate world.

Along with her exemplary academic work, Czarnecki is a volunteer at Cedarbrook Nursing Home, where she performs dog therapy; assists Blue Mountain Athletic Association and a youth soccer coach; volunteers at church events; and has organized and conducted cancer benefits for a local resident.

This year, $185,000 was awarded to 11 students, who were chosen to receive the scholarship in honor of their demonstrated charitable characteristics, and their work to make a positive impact on the communities on a continual basis.

To be eligible for a PAA Foundation scholarship, applicants must be graduating high school seniors or college students who are involved in activities, projects or charitable events which assist in fulfilling unmet needs in their communities by supporting organizations that address those needs and volunteering a substantial amount of time and effort to those activities.

The scholarship is renewable for $5,000 a year for the next three years, if Czarnecki maintains a GPA of 2.5 or above and continues to satisfy the Community Service Scholarship criteria.

Total awards for incoming freshman, such as Czarnecki, could equal up to $20,000 per student.

Anyone interested in learning more about the PAA Foundation Scholarship Program can call the foundation at 1-800-242-3745, extension 3351, or visit www.paa-foundation.org [1].