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Santa Rosa graduate receives $1,000 scholarship from 5 AM Coffee Group

Two RGV community leaders partner for scholarship

Santa Rosa High School Class of 2020 valedictorian Cameron Cuevas accepts the 5 AM Coffee Group scholarship from Doak Dunkin, left, and Judge Oscar Guerra. Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa ISD

Special to LFN

SANTA ROSA — Cameron Cuevas, the Class of 2020 valedictorian for Santa Rosa High School, received a $1,000 scholarship from the 5 AM Coffee Group for his winning essay “Understanding the Differences Between Capitalism and Socialism.”

Open to all SRHS seniors, the scholarship required students to read the dystopian novels “Atlas Shrugged” or “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand or “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. Then it required them to write a 10-page typed essay on the topic of capitalism vs. socialism. The essays were judged by the SRHS History department.

Though it took him more than 10 hours to write the essay, Cuevas said it helped him better understand the reasons behind different forms of economic policies and government and think about his duties as a citizen.

“There are dangers to any policies or systems that are extreme,” he said.

“All people need to stay informed, be involved and vote before they live in a country where they don’t really have a voice.”

Cuevas, the son of Marcy and Reynaldo Cuevas III, will attend the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and study computer engineering.

The scholarship Cuevas received was sponsored by two friends who, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, met each weekday at 5 a.m. for morning coffee at a Stripes convenience store in west Harlingen.

Judge Oscar Guerra of Santa Rosa and businessman Doak Dunkin of Harlingen were discussing current government and classic literature one morning. According to Dunkin, they came up with the idea to create a student scholarship that would encourage both reading and civic awareness.

“Oscar is very supportive of the school district in Santa Rosa, so we decided to partner up and help a student from that community,” Dunkin said.

“We’re just two families who really support our communities, and we joined hands this year to give a $1,000 scholarship,” Guerra said. “We’re glad we did it. Helping our future leaders is always a good investment.”

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