Yael Silberman is one student that believes knowledge is power.

As a recent winner of a prestigious Coca Cola Scholarship, she points to extracurricular options at McAllen Memorial High that led her to explore her innate curiosity and experience success.

A 2019 graduate of Memorial, Silberman involved herself in cross examination debate, yearbook, tennis, student council, National Honor Society and UIL journalism. Even with all these activities, she wanted to do more.

“I love to learn, I am always excited to grow my realm of knowledge,” Silberman said. “I don’t know whether I want to be a neurologist or want to have a seat at the United Nations but as long as I’m happy with what I’m doing I will feel like I succeeded.”

Part of her love for learning led to become one of just 150 Coca Cola scholarship winners in the nation. More than 95,700 applications were submitted. The selections were based on academic excellence, leadership and service demonstrated in school and community activities.

In the seventh grade she founded a non-profit organization named Yael’s Closet. Its purpose was to alleviate children who struggle with poverty from suffering in the winter.

“I first heard about the scholarship through my college counselor, Maria Carrillo; she posted it and encouraged me to apply,” Silberman said. “To be among some of the brightest minds in the country left me in complete awe.”

Silberman traveled to Atlanta, Georgia in April for Scholars Weekend, which included the Coca Cola Scholars Leadership Development Institute. During that weekend she got to meet the other recipients, this allowed her to see how other high school seniors around the country are making a difference in their communities and their schools.

“Seeing what they have accomplished and continue to strive for the betterment of our society inspired me,” Silberman said. “There are truly no words to describe how grateful I am to have been selected for this prestigious honor. I aspire to work with my future scholars in improving the world together.”

Silberman is not only intelligent but driven. Her yearbook adviser Kelsey Martin says so. The daughter of Peruvian parents, education has always been a priority but giving back to the community is the one thing that sets her apart from the rest.

“Yael was on our debate team and she is very good at public speaking,” Martin said. “She is very confident and I think she probably came across as that. She can easily carry a conversation on a wide variety of topics.”

“Our world is a gift that keeps on giving and it is our job to continue to do so,” Silberman said.