by Photo via Unsplash

The Metropolitan Transit System announced 40 winners of the 20th annual MTS and Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest on Friday, awarding top-scoring students with a brand new laptop. 

The winning students represented 25 high schools across San Diego County, but six students represented three high schools within the Sweetwater Union High School District. MTS held a ceremony on Jan.26 to commemorate their achievement. 

“In the past few years, technology has become a crucial part of learning in every student’s life, and having a reliable computer can make a huge difference in academic performance,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair and San Diego County Board Supervisor. “We love to get young people thinking critically about public transit, and I am proud of the work these students put into these essays. We are grateful to Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling for sponsoring this contest and the great partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education for making it a success.”

For the 2022 Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest, sponsored by Reyes Coca-Cola, students wrote a persuasive essay on the value of the SANDAG Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) pilot program, and why it should or should not continue. 

Since May 2022, all youth 18 and under have had access to free transit across the county through the YOP pilot program. As part of the essays, students were also able to give feedback about the program and suggestions to further expand the opportunities it provides.

“Young people are powerful agents of change and it’s admirable that MTS worked to incorporate their feedback into the YOP process,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. “I am proud of the students who participated in the laptop scholarship essay contest and thankful to MTS and the Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Company for their continued support.”

Each high school student was awarded a Dell—Inspiration Touch Laptop and Carry-on Laptop backpack, which in total has an estimated prize value of $800. 

Students representing the Sweetwater Union High School District in the 2022 MTS & Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest are:

  • Itzel Martinez, Senior at High Tech High Chula Vista
  • Maya Murchison, Junior at Eastlake High School
  • Diego Paz, Senior at Montgomery High School
  • Paulo Rivery, Junior at Eastlake High School
  • Violet Uribe, Junior at Montgomery High School
  • Leonel Villanueva, Sophomore at Eastlake High School

To view the list of all 40 2022 MTS & Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Laptop Scholarship Essay Contest winners, visit


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