Coasthills Foundation gives more than $22k at scholarship reception

Seventeen students from San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara County schools honored 

With eager children knelt around her, Ariel West’s instincts kicked in. The 17-year-old Coast Union High School student was in Mexico on the first day of a service project, building homes in an impoverished area. She was teaching the kids how to hammer nails when a wall from one of the nearby houses came crashing down on top of them.

West shielded the children and took the brunt of the fall. The kids walked away unharmed, and West fought through back pain to finish out the week. Only when she returned home to Cayucos, Calif., did tests reveal multiple fractures in her back.

No matter the adversity West has faced in her life, her dedication to education and helping people has driven her to becoming a veritable difference-maker. She is one of 17 local high school students honored with a CoastHills Credit Union Gold Standard Scholarship Award on Tuesday night at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach.

Supported by the CoastHills Community Foundation, the scholarship program awarded a total of $17,000 in $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors from San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. Additional $1,000 awards were given to a Student of the Year from each county. The Foundation also pledged a $215 donation in the name of each student to the charity of his or her choice.

West was honored as the Student of the County for San Luis Obispo. Cabrillo’s Jacob Madden earned the honor for Northern Santa Barbara County. Students were selected based on ability to be vibrant, dedicated, open and genuine — the core values championed by CoastHills.

“The credit union and its foundation are focused on supporting the community, and this scholarship program is one of our favorite causes,” said CoastHills Community Foundation Director Rebecca Alarcio. “To know the future rests in the hands of these capable young adults is very reassuring. We’re honored to contribute to their college careers.”


  • Tessa Oates, Arroyo Grande High School
  • Jack Fisher, Atascadero High School
  • Jacob Madden Cabrillo High School
  • Ariel West, Coast Union High School
  • Catalina Martinez, Lompoc High School
  • Kendra McKeague, Mission College Prep
  • Jack Krull, Morro Bay High School
  • Christine DeLaby, Nipomo High School
  • Chanel Diaz, Orcutt Academy High School
  • Dylan Wilkinson, Paso Robles High School
  • Jonathan Honrada, Pioneer Valley High School
  • Omar Dominguez-Haquet, Righetti High School
  • Garrett Perkins, San Luis Obispo High School
  • Evelyn Alvarez-Velasquez, Santa Maria High School
  • Talia Fredette, Santa Ynez High School
  • Trey Lowerison, Templeton High School

Northern Santa Barbara County Student of the Year: Jacob Madden

San Luis Obispo County Student of the Year: Ariel West

The CoastHills Community Foundation is a separate 501(c) (3) that provides funding and support of CoastHills Credit Union community outreach initiatives focused on local charities. Formed in 2005, the foundation has raised more than $570,000 and supports more than 200 community-based charitable organizations a year.

About CoastHills

CoastHills is a not-for-profit credit union currently serving more than 
58,000 members in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.  It has 11 branches and a full service call center.  With assets of more than $840 million, CoastHills is one of the largest independently owned financial institutions on the Central Coast.

Photo Caption: CoastHills President and CEO Jeff York (left) and Board of Directors Chairman Hugh Rafferty flank the 2015 CoastHills Foundation Gold Standard Scholarship recipients at The Cliffs Resort, Shell Beach.

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