Where the name “Cocoa” came from

Charlie met most of his friends and teammates while he was at Chaparral Elementary School and their friendship continued through De Vargas Jr. High.

When he entered Santa Fe High School, he and his friends had been running track and playing football together since grade school. During their freshmen year all the members of the team started to get nicknames: Lawrence Collins, Marvin Martinez, Daniel Tapia, Mark Turner, Charlie Lopez, Javier Posa and Hugo Ojeda. A nickname for Charlie was difficult.

I came home one afternoon, Charlie came out of his room, and said, “Dad, I need to speak with you.” “Lets go into your room,” I said. I could tell he was sad. When he spoke he said, “You know how I thought Hugo, Marvin and all of the guys were my friends?” I said, “Yes, why?” He said, “They gave me a nickname.” I asked what the name was. He said, “Cocoa”. I asked, “What is wrong with that?” He said, “Dad, look at the color of my skin.”

I knew I had to think of something quick. I said, “If you stop and think about it, a Hershey Candy Bar is dark and sweet and if you add a few almonds its not only dark and sweet, but it’s dark, chewy and sweet. I think they are not making fun of you, but they are trying to say you are very sweet. It’s a good nickname, because “Cocoa” is always good.” As he continued through school, The nickname “Cocoa” became a name he was very proud of.