Dr Pepper Prize Helps Islander Student Pursue His Dreams

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A tuition giveaway from Dr Pepper will help Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi art student Christopher Karr help others.

Karr, from San Juan, Texas, was announced as a winner of $100,000 in the 2020 Dr Pepper Tuition giveaway this week. He competed in a game-show format against another finalist and was able to correctly guess which everyday item on display – ranging from a rubber boot to a watermelon – was actually a cake. Karr guessed that what appeared to be an ordinary red onion was actually an expertly decorated cake.

“I just chose it in the hope that it was the one,” said Karr, a sophomore majoring in art. “I just took a leap of faith.”

Faith in his artistic abilities was undoubtedly what led contest officials at Dr Pepper to choose Karr as a finalist. His application for the contest included a video that gave examples of the focus areas of his art: racial discrimination, ocean conservation, and indigenous Mexican civilizations.

The video also outlined his volunteer work in the San Juan, Texas, schools as an art teacher for children during his junior year in high school and his plan to expand art awareness. He focused on service to others in his appeal to the Dr Pepper contest panel.

“If you award me this scholarship, I could focus on teaching,” he said in the video. “Doing so will permit me to pass the paint brush along to the next generation of artists.”

Karr said his ultimate ambition is to found the first-ever art studio in San Juan.

Thanks to the scholarship, Karr’s plan to pursue a master’s degree in art feels much more possible. He hopes to then go on to become an art professor.

“The scholarship just paves this road I want to go down.”

In deciding whether to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Karr was influenced by the reputations of TAMU-CC Professor of Art Carey Rote and Associate Professor of Art Joe Peña.

“I wanted to learn from them,” he said. “They achieved what I am trying to achieve.”

Karr is pleased with the overall experience of attending A&M-Corpus Christi.

“I love the environment here in Corpus Christi,” he said. “You can just go outside and see the water to be inspired. Each of my professors at this institution has challenged me to learn new art-making techniques across a variety of media.”

Karr said winning the award is especially exciting because Dr Pepper is actually his favorite drink.

“I only drink Coke when there’s no Dr Pepper in the fridge,” he said, adding that winning a scholarship from Dr. Pepper “makes it all the sweeter!”