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Teen hopes to win contest, attend TWU

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Sango Demunga isn’t a Texas Woman’s University student yet, but she hopes to be.

The 18-year-old is competing for $100,000 as part of the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway, and if she wins, she plans on attending TWU.

For the competition, Demunga, who’s originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, had to make a video explaining how she wanted to impact the world.

The high school senior hopes to become a social worker like the one who helped her family when she moved to the United States from Africa seven years ago.

While she was in Africa, she was in a refugee camp for seven years. She said she couldn’t go to school, the water was dirty and there wasn’t enough to eat.

“There are people going through that right now,” she said.

She wants to help refugees, she said.

“I chose to be a social worker because I saw how my family came to America,” she said.

Demunga chose TWU because she wants to stay close to her family.

Her educational guardian, Staci Friedel of Dallas, told her about the tuition giveaway and convinced her to submit a video.

Her parents have eight children and can’t afford to pay her college tuition, Demunga said.

Demunga is currently in the top five based on the votes her video received online. She has already been awarded $2,500.

On Saturday, she will compete against four other finalists to see who can throw the most footballs into a giant replica of a Dr Pepper can. The two with the most footballs in the can will compete in a final round of the football throw for $100,000.

The final round of the competition will air during the pregame coverage of the BCS national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday.

“I really didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity to get this,” Demunga said. “It means a lot to me.”

A lot of people have helped her, she said.

Friedel is one of those people, telling Demunga she had a compelling story and this would be an amazing opportunity for her.

Friedel, a graphic designer, and her husband, a creative director in advertising, helped Demunga make the video.

Because English is her second language, Demunga hasn’t done well on standardized tests, so Friedel thought the tuition giveaway would be a great way to pay for college.

“Her strength is what she’s overcome and her persistence,” Friedel said. “We thought this would be a better opportunity than writing essays or getting academic scholarships.”

Friedel never doubted that Demunga would make it to this point of the competition.

She thinks Demunga will also do well throwing the football.

Demunga said she’s a little nervous about having to throw the football, but she’s also excited and she’s been practicing.

“I’m just so thankful,” Demunga said.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .


To watch the video, visit .