Persistent students win tuition to MU North East

Lauren Murphy, Contributing writer

Three students won the grand prize of free tuition and books for an associate’s degree at the Mercyhurst North East campus, after spending their summer living on a bus.

Radio station Happi 92.7-FM partnered with Mercyhurst North East to host the “Live in a Bus, and Tuition’s on Us!”contest. The contest consisted of participants living inside a 48-seat school bus for the entire summer in order to win roughly $35,000, which would pay for an associate’s degree in tuition money.

The contestants were chosen from a two part entry process: first an entry video, and then an interview. Nearly one hundred people applied, but only five were chosen. Out of the five contestants only one was supposed to win, but three made it to the end and received the prize. The winners were Will Crotty, Isued Farret and Elizabeth Simmons.

Crotty said he was going to use the money to complete a degree in Education and hopes to become a teacher in Erie. Farret is using the money to become a Physical Therapist Assistant, while Simmons is keeping her options open.

“Winning meant a better future,” Simmons said.

Contestants were allowed a forty-five minute break to shower every morning and were allotted three fifteen minutes and two half-hour breaks for food.

The Happi 92.7 website provided a list of the places the bus was going to stop for anyone who was following the contest and wanted to see how the contestants were doing. Aside from the breaks, the rest of the contestant’s time was spent on the bus.

Halfway through the summer, Happi 92.7 executives realized that from the attitudes of the final three contestants, they were not going to be giving up anytime soon.

“We could have honestly gone another 100 days,” Farret said.

As a result, Happi 92.7 and Mercyhurst University decided to give all three students the prize money.

“I’m excited that we all won, you know, we lost the summer but I think we gained a lot more,” Crotty said.