TUCSON, Ariz. — A local high school senior is representing the Tucson area in a big way. Within Coca-Cola’s huge annual scholarship program, she was selected as a Coke Scholar regional finalist.
Yakeleen Almazan is one of the tens and thousands of students from all over the country who apply every year. As a Pueblo High School senior headed to Yale this fall, she was chosen as a regional finalist.
“What a Coke Scholar is, is a communal it can be the leader that's recognized nationally, so the Coca Cola scholarship foundation essentially has a scholarship Program. The scholarship program isn't just a scholarship, it also has immersion programs for college and resources when you're actually in your undergraduate program,” said Almazan.
This year there are 251 regional finalists that will be narrowed down. Six of which are in Arizona. One, in Tucson. Almazan is proud to represent her city and high school.
“Super exciting just because, like when I see on the website and it says “Pueblo Magnet High School” it always makes me happy. I love representing my school in my community so I'm happy I got to do that through Coca-Cola. But I do definitely think it takes a village to raise a child and that's exactly what they did with me, and so I couldn't be more grateful,” said Almazan.
As a regional finalist, the final step is an interview with committee members. If she passes that, $20,000 goes toward her education and she will have recognition as a young national leader within the program. And aside from being a Coke Scholar finalist, Almazan was also granted scholarships from the Horatio Alger program and one from Yale.
“Another scholarship that's aside from coke that has also helped me because I think I'm set really for my undergraduate degree, is a Horatio Alger scholarship. So with Horatio and YALE scholarship I should be set, but you know also finalists for Coke and I'm a semi-finalist for Gates so ready to cross fingers and see what happens,” said Almazan.
Almazan is set to major in political science and possibly double major in education or Spanish.
“The really biggest takeaway is that I thank my entire community for all of my successes like I don't ever see my successes as just mine, I see it as like everybody in my community, especially everybody who's helped me. Notable mentions like Dr. Teresa Toro (Pueblo High School guidance counselor). But also Lucy Can and Alan Vocal from the local college club, or Ethan Sawyer who's like a national essay editor, helped me write all my essays for you, and so I can't thank him enough. But I do definitely think it takes a village to raise a child and that's exactly what they did with me, and so I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunities I've had, and for my Community for supporting me,” said Almazan.