HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Dr. Pepper celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Tuition Giveaway during the College Football Conference Championship weekend by awarding $1 million in tuition to students who competed at halftime during five marquee games.
Five students took home $100,000 in tuition grand prizes after successfully throwing the most footballs into an oversized Dr. Pepper can in 30 seconds.
Among the winners of the scholarship funds was University of Houston-Downtown student Alberto Reyes.
Reyes, a senior business major, arrived in Santa Clara, California after being selected as a Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway finalist based on a video submission.
In Reyes' video, he explains his passion for helping others while strolling through the UHD campus.
The Marilyn Davies College of Business student mentioned that he was the son of immigrants, and wanted to help others in his community better manage their finances.
Reyes is scheduled to graduate from the Marilyn Davies College of Business in spring 2019. Then will continue his graduate studies in accounting at an institution to be determined.
"It was surreal," he said. "When I looked up and saw I won the competition, I couldn't believe it."
Reyes didn't play football in high school, so he and his father constructed a wooden replica of the oversized Dr. Pepper can and practiced.
"I think fear keeps people from pursuing their dreams and goals," Reyes said. "They see opportunities but don't try because they think they won't succeed. Just recently, I was sitting in my room worried about how I was going to pay for school. Less than a month later, I'm receiving a $100,000 tuition check. Had I been afraid of applying for the Tuition Giveaway, I wouldn't be in this position."
During his acceptance speech, Reyes thanked UHD, his Texas Children's family and the city of Houston.
University of Houston-Downtown student wins $100,000 scholarship from Dr. Pepper