GREENFIELD — Greenfield High School senior Daniela Cervantez was named a recipient of the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship that will help her further her education in college.
Cervantez first heard about the Coca-Cola Scholarship from her GEAR-UP counselor, Steven Calvario. Applicants of the Coca-Cola Scholarship, such as Cervantez, are awarded the scholarship based on their leadership and their impact on their community.
“I think what made my application was I started my school’s first ever Gay Straight Alliance in a mostly socially and religious conservative community,” Cervantez said. “I feel that I’ve impacted the LGBT community as far as advocacy and presence in the Greenfield High School.”
Cervantez has also been involved in student government since eighth grade and currently serves as the Associated Student Body president.
Cervantez will use the $20,000 scholarship to attend University of California, Berkeley, in the fall and will be leaving Greenfield for Berkeley in less than two months. She received early admittance to UC Berkeley as one of its top 200 applicants.
The Coca-Cola Scholarship application process began with a candidate pool of 86,000 applications from across the United States. The pool was then narrowed to 1,900 applicants who made it to the semi-finalist round. The semi-finalist round included the submission of a series of essays and to tell the Coca-Cola panel a little bit about the applicant’s involvement with their community and how they have impacted it.
From the semi-final round, the candidate pool was again narrowed to 250 finalists who had to attend an interview through Skype or in person.
“I was fortunate to get my interview in San Francisco,” Cervantez said. “I had to travel there and I met with the president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Mark Davis, who interviewed me along with two other scholars.”
Cervantez said that she was nervous during the interview because although she had completed interviews before, she did not have one that was of this scale. Cervantez and the student that interviewed after her were two of 150 scholarship finalists throughout the United States.
Cervantez is also in the running for class Valedictorian.