When Madison Ekern arrived at Whitney Young High School in Chicago on Monday, the senior thought she was attending a quick post-season girls soccer meeting.
But that so-called meeting actually turned out to be a special presentation honoring Ekern for giving back to her community.
In front of her classmates, family and friends, Ekern was surprised with a new 2016 Jeep Wrangler by the Making A Difference On AND Off The Field campaign, which is presented by the PepsiCo Showdown and Buddy’s HELPERS. The Westminster College-bound midfielder, who was randomly selected from a pool of more than 100 entries, has volunteered at the Common Pantry in Chicago over the past four years.
"It's a very eye-opening experience to see the demographics of people who are living in poverty due to lack of opportunities,” said Ekern, who has helped out at the pantry once a week since 2013. “I do whatever I can to help people. It's amazing to see how loving and thankful people are when you help them."
She also received two tickets to Sunday’s B96 Summer Bash, which will be the first place she’ll drive her new car to.
“I literally had no idea I was going to win,” said Ekern, whose surprised reaction was shown on local and national newscasts across the U.S. this week.
Ekern is the latest student-athlete to be surprised for Making A Difference On AND Off The Field. Buddy’s HELPERS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit uniting Chicago-area high school student-athletes and teachers/coaches in an annual community service campaign.
The program has engaged hundreds of high schools and thousands of student-athletes through the PepsiCo Showdown - the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S. In 2016, there are 216 high schools and more than 21,500 student-athletes a part of the overall PepsiCo Showdown.
More on Madison's story from CBS 2 Chicago
, see the video below: