"I decided to do that and I absolutely loved it," O'Brien said. "I walked around the school watering plants with them (the life skills students) and doing recycling with them and everything, and teachers started to notice that I was doing a great job with them, and one of the teachers gave me a Keys to Success card, and that's how it started."
The key-shaped card is given to students who go out of their way to help others.
Danvers High Assistant Principal Mark Strout registered O'Brien online, allowing her to get prizes, such as gift cards from Dunkin' Donuts and Panera. She was also entered into the grand-prize drawing, and became one of 25 students from Danvers High and 25 students from Peabody High eligible to get a real key.
This is the fourth year of Keys to Success, said its coordinator, Michelle Roselli.
The program has two components, she said.
One part consists of small prizes given out all year long, to keep students focused, and the other is the drawing for the car, which has students randomly chosen from all who get rewards.
"We don't know who's going to win," Roselli said. "Whoever starts the car wins."
O'Brien likes to drive and has had her license for five months, but she has had to share a car with her father, who will not let the student-athlete put a "Run" bumper sticker on his car.
"She's actually a really good driver," her dad said.
Kelsey needs the car because she is involved in sports and extracurricular activities, such as high school soccer and track and club soccer.
"My car was kind of her car," Bob O'Brien said.
As of late last week, the dealership was still doing paperwork on the car, but once it arrives, Kelsey plans to contribute to its upkeep.
"I actually have a job during the summer," said Kelsey, who plans to work as a camp counselor at Camp Christopher at St. John's Prep.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.