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40 High Schoolers Win New Laptops as Part of MTS & Reyes Coca-Cola Essay Contest



Today the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced the 40 winners of the annual MTS and Reyes Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest, which awards top-scoring students with brand new laptop computers. The winning students came from 33 different high schools in San Diego County and were awarded a Lenovo - Ideapad 3.

Due to the pandemic, the laptops are coming at a crucial time for students who had already been working through issues with technology at home for over a year. Students shared stories about the struggles of distance learning, including borrowing or sharing laptops, old laptops not working, and challenging Wi-Fi connections. 

 “It’s been a very challenging year for these students. They all faced an unprecedented learning experience,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair, and Chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “I am very proud of them. It is encouraging to see that this up-and-coming generation has a lot of talent, resolve and perseverance.”

Students in grades 9-12 were asked to explore PRONTO, the new fare collection system MTS passengers will being using this summer, and
write about how its new capabilities will help improve access to transit in San Diego, with features such as fare-capping, instant money deposit, multi-card family options, online balance tracking and much more.

“We are very excited for students and all of our passengers to begin using PRONTO this summer, and the essays reflected that excitement,” said Mary Casillas Salas, MTS Boardmember and Mayor of Chula Vista. “We appreciate the students, and the partnership with Reyes Coca-Cola and the San Diego County Office of Education in making this contest a success every year.”

“The last year has shown very clearly the impact technology can have on students’ access to education,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. “And while many students have returned to school campuses, they still need computers. I am proud of the students who participated and thankful to MTS and the Reyes Coca Cola Bottling Company for their support.”

“The Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Company is honored to be a part of this event,” said Denise Brant, Account Executive at Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Co. “Technology plays an intricate part in each of our daily roles, to know that each recipient will be able to use their laptop not only to further their education, but for so much more. I commend each and every recipient for their award and wish them all the best.”

The laptop scholarship essay contest is a long-standing event partnership between MTS, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the San Diego County Office of Education. To be eligible to win, students had to be San Diego County residents and enrolled in a San Diego County high school.

 Winners of the 2021 MTS & Reyes Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest are:

Aadil Umar, Del Norte High School

Aaron Vidales, Escondido Charter High School

Adelle Belen Priest, Valley Center High School

Angelica Kamahi, Granite Hills High School

Angelina Cano, Eastlake High School

Anjali Paye, Academy of Our Lady of Peace

Bennett Hochner, Sage Creek High School

Brayan Torres Sandoval, Poway High School

Carmen Marin, Patrick Henry High School

Cesar Ivan Torres, Montgomery High School

David Castellon, Otay Ranch High School

Diana Perez, Escondido High School

Elijah Gagnier, Castle Park High School

Ella Perry, Kearny Senior High School

Emily Le, Hoover High School

Ethan Chuang, The Bishop's School

Gabriella Hernandez, Vista High School

Gavin Stewart, Escondido Charter High School

Giovanni Serrano, University City High School

Jessica Hernandez, Granite Hills High School

Jonathan Ty, Sweetwater High School

Julianna Ruedas, The Preuss School

Kaley Mafong, Canyon Crest Academy

Kimmy Dang, Crawford High School

Kumail Afshar, Del Norte High School

Kyle Nagasawa, Del Norte High School

Laysha Melendez, El Cajon Valley High School

Martin Martinez, Chula Vista High School

McKenna Berner, Westview High School

Miguel Talamantez, Helix Charter High School

Noah Randahl Lopez, Escondido Charter High School

Noemi Rocha, Fallbrook Union High School

Priscilla Korha, Morse High School

Riley Sargent, Rancho Buena Vista High School

Sama Atto, Valhalla High School

Selena Chavez, San Diego Workforce Innovation HS

Simmon Quan, James Madison High School

Thomas Brackman, Ramona High School

Tisha  Chowdhury, Rancho Bernardo High School

Tyler Costello, Canyon Crest Academy