Winner of the $100,000 Dr Pepper annual tuition giveaway contest
[Exclusive interview with Claudia Bergheger (nee Delgadillo) as told in her own words]
My name is Claudia Delgadillo (Bergheger is my married name) and I am excited to share my story with as many people as possible because I am living proof that anyone can accomplish anything as long as they set their minds to pursue it. All it takes is confidence and self determination. I came to the United States of America with limited rights because I am an immigrant but over time I found a way to overcome any struggles that were in my way. A message I can give to anyone is that it is true when they say that if you dream it you can accomplish it, it just takes a little faith and dedication.
I am now 21 years old and I have a story I’d like to share with the city I grew up in which was the Round Lake Area in Illinois. I attended W.J. Murphy in Round Lake Park in the mid-year of 4th grade in 2003 to 6th grade in 2006. Then I attended the Round Lake Middle School from 2006 to 2008 and graduated from Round Lake High School with the Class of 2011.
My journey after High School began like many of my classmates. College! Due to a lack of income, I was restricted from attending a four year University but the College of Lake County made it easy for me to continue with my studies and stay on a good track. One of my biggest struggles growing up was being an immigrant which restricted me even more from working to earn money for school and I was not eligible for Financial Aid, either. But I made sure to not leave my education aside. I maintained strong faith and positive attitude while facing many different struggles that came with being an immigrant.
In 2012, shortly after attending my first year in CLC, an Executive Order was passed known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This law made a huge impact in my life and those of many other young people like me. I was then able to work, drive and continue paying for my education by working. While all of this greatness was happening I also met my husband, Brian, who is Active Duty Military currently Stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia. Once my husband and I got married in the month of May in 2013, I moved to Georgia, shortly after receiving my Associates Degree in Arts from College of Lake County in August.
Once in Georgia my mission was to work to save up enough money to go back to school to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I was only able to find a job in a restaurant in the nearest city to us, which was Savannah, GA . It was an hour drive there and another hour back. It felt like I was wasting miles, gas, and time but I had no choice I needed the money for school. Shortly before finding this job in the month of September I came across an ad that would change my life forever. The Dr Pepper Annual Tuition Giveaway Contest. I entered a video like it was required and told my story and my passion for law and politics. Four months after entering the contest I got a call from Dr. Pepper letting me know that I had been selected to compete for a $100,000 scholarship.
I flew down to Dallas, Texas with my husband to compete. In order to win I needed to get more footballs in a 10 foot tall Dr. Pepper can than my opponent. We were given 30 seconds to throw them. When the timer began I started out by missing my first 4 footballs but somehow I was able to make up for the one’s I had missed. When the timer stopped I looked at my opponents score board, she had made 8 balls in the can I looked at my score and realized 9 balls were made on my can. I then realized that one throw, one football had just changed my life.
This was all featured during the 2014 Cotton Bowl in the new Cowboys Stadium known as the AT&T Stadium. My opponent still went home with $20,000 for tutition. The scholarship pays for all my schooling expenses, including books, tuition, and dorm room if I lived in one. As for sports, I don’t know how that would work. I am now attending Austin Peay State University in Clarksville TN. My husband got orders to soon PCS to Fort Campbell in KY. The nearest university to base is Austin Peay which is one of the reasons I chose to go here, but it is also a beautiful campus and has a very friendly professional staff.
I am majoring in Political Science and minoring in legal studies. I chose to stick with politics and law because I found a passion for it all when I saw how the deferred action for childhood arrivals changed my life. It opened up my eyes to the importance of politics, laws and governemt. I know a few other students were selected to compete. It might have been a total of 20 students chosen out of the 50,000 entries. Out of the 20 selected they divided us up into small groups and featured us on different college football games and stadiums going on during the season.
The tuition giveaway is open every year. It is now open for people to enter the contest. There’s more details and rules on DrPepper.com. On September 10, 2014 a producer from FoxSports and Dr. Pepper along with a Nashville Production Company, Studio Now, came to campus, here in Clarksville, TN., to film a small profile on me and how my life has changed since winning the $100,000 scholarship. The only details I currently know is that it will be aired sometime in October during the College Football season. Other contest winners were also selected for profiles. More details will be available when the video is finalized.
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