A student at the University of West Georgia will compete for $125,000 after being selected as one of the finalists in the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway.
Chemari Reeves is a resident of Fairburn who is studying nursing at the Newnan campus of the University of West Georgia.
She is a single mother and a full-time nursing student, with aspirations to become a neonatal nurse after graduation and plans to pursue her master’s degree.
“Shortly after my son’s birth, both my son and I experienced serious complications. We were eternally grateful for the support and gracious attitude that was shown to us in our time of need. I want to be that beacon of hope in life for someone else,” Chemari said in her application video. “I plan to give the future generation the chance to thrive and be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.”
To win the 12th annual tuition giveaway, Chemari will be challenged to throw as many footballs as she can into an oversized Dr Pepper can within 30 seconds.
Whoever out of the six candidates throws the most footballs will win the $125,000 prize.
Chemari will be flown out to Frisco, Texas — home of the Dr Pepper Ballpark — for the competition, which will be recorded on a closed set due to COVID-19, and on Dec. 19, viewers can watch her compete at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Her dream to pursue her career in neonatal nursing and further her education would be funded in part by the payout from this competition, either at $125,000 as the winner, or $75,000 as the runner up.
Before the competition, Chemari said that she had never picked up a football, but that has not stopped her from practicing for the competition.
Some friends and supporters on campus built her a practice target for her to hone her throwing skills. One faculty member even helped her secure footballs from the UWG football team to practice with.
“A lot of the people actually work on the Newnan campus, and they kind of stood by and gave me pointers like ‘don’t go too fast ‘and ‘might want to bounce off of your left leg’ and, you know, stuff like that,” said Chemari.
Another person reaping the benefits of the throwing set-up is Chemari’s son, who has been copying his mom and throwing the ball around whenever she does.
“I am a single mom of a 3 1/2 year old [boy], so I always want him to know that he can follow his dreams,” said Chemari. “No dream is too big or too small. As long as you’re willing to work hard for it.”