Natalie Ziegler (SLOHS) and Bianca Soto (Shandon HS), winners of the Friday night Live Casey Goodwin Scholarship

Friday Night Live Scholarships Awarded to 10 Local Students

Author: Frank Warren
Date: 5/23/2018 12:19:16 PM

Friday Night Live (FNL), a program of the Behavioral Health Department’s Prevention & Outreach Division, honored ten local high school seniors with scholarships. Scholarships were awarded at the program’s inaugural FNL Banquet and Town Hall, held May 17th in San Luis Obispo.

The awards and dinner were provided by the SLO Friday Night Live Partnership, a non-profit organization of volunteers established to support the County’s prevention efforts in 1992.

The FNL Scholarship has been awarded annually since 1999 and is designed to honor students who have led positive, healthy lifestyles free of alcohol and other drugs, and who have worked to promote health and wellness among their peers and in their community. Each applicant wrote a personal essay and shared views on substance use by teens, and their efforts in prevention.  Students also submitted letters of reference from peers, community members, and teachers, acknowledging their accomplishments.  Seniors were also awarded blue and gold FNL graduation cords to symbolize their commitment to FNL during high school. This year two students received the Casey Goodwin Memorial Scholarship.  This award is given in the name of a young Cuesta College student and active prevention advocate killed by a drunk driver in March, 2003.

Natalie Ziegler (SLO HS) – Casey Goodwin Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Natalie is a senior at SLOHS, and plans to attend Colorado Northwestern Community College to play softball, major in education, and become a teacher and softball coach.  Natalie’s FNL advisor wrote, “For four years, Natalie has been a key contributor to each and every project FNL has put on… she is our team Captain and also our MVP.” 

Bianca Soto (Shandon HS) – Casey Goodwin Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Bianca is a senior at Shandon HS, and plans to major in Biology, and eventually become a pediatric surgeon.  Bianca has been active in FNL since 5th grade.  She wrote about the impact of Casey’s Pledge on Shandon’s campus, “I think her story is one of the most emotional ones I have heard because she was so involved in the prevention of drunk driving …she was definitely one of the biggest influences on me during all my years of FNL even if I never actually met her.”

Israel Vargas (Shandon HS)

Israel plans to attend Cuesta College and transfer to a university. Israel says, “The FNL program has influenced me so much that I have chosen psychology. I want to pay forward the help FNL has given me to others by helping them choose to live a clean and healthy lifestyle.”

Alejandra Barrera (Atascadero HS)

Alejandra plans to attend Cuesta College, and transfer to a university..  Ale says, “Being in the club has made my life choices easier. I knew that I wasn’t going to be pressured into anything I didn’t want to be part of because of FNL. I always knew I had a safe place at school due to the wonderful environment FNL has provided all four years.”

Courtney Basden (Atascadero HS)

Courtney plans to attend a university to study digital filmmaking and media production. Courtney says “FNL shaped me into the leader and FNL member that I dreamed of being, and has opened my eyes to the importance of substance use education and prevention.”

Julia Aurignac (Templeton HS)

Julia plans to attend Baylor University and study nursing.  Julia says, “FNL has truly changed the way I view all aspects of my life. The awareness gallery helped me realize that I was not alone in high school; we all have problems, and this event allowed others to do the same.”

Haley Hurdle (Templeton HS)

Haley plans to attend Colorado State University and study animal science and veterinary medicine, and wrote “I believe that leading by example and continuing to provide facts for students will help make them more aware …and if we lead by example, hopefully we can decrease substance use and abuse in teens.”

Amanpreet (Kiran) Mangat (Arroyo Grande HS)

Kiran plans to attend Cuesta College and eventually Cal Poly. About preventing substance use among teens, Kiran says, “Although we know there still will be individuals that don’t agree with our message…affecting just one person, I feel, is an accomplishment.”

Itzel Lopez Jaimes (Paso Robles HS)

Itzel plans to major in Biology and then enter a physician’s assistant program.  Itzel has been involved with FNL since the 6th grade, and writes, “FNL has taught me not to throw my life away. I can now provide others with resources that could save their life.”

Haley Cudworth (Templeton HS)

Haley plans to attend Cal Poly and study business.  Haley says, “I knew that I wanted to be part of something bigger in my life during high school, and Friday Night Live allowed me to do just that.”

The banquet was attended by FNL chapter members from middle and high schools across the county, their parents, FNL faculty advisors, community partners, school administration, and Behavioral Health staff.  Chapters and advisors were recognized for their hard work over the past school year in preventing substance use and promoting mental wellness, and each chapter had the opportunity to highlight one of their stand-out projects from the year. 

The program also celebrated two outstanding community partners with the “Friends of FNL” award.  Officer Jordan Richards (California Highway Patrol) and Nasseem Rouhani (Public Health Dept., Tobacco Control Program) were honored for their on-going support and commitment to county youth.  Funding for the Banquet was been made possible by a grant from the California Friday Night Live Partnership and private donations.

Follow FNL on Facebook ( and Instagram (@slofnl) to see photos of the event, and future activities with FNL.