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Seven Central Coast graduating seniors have won the Congressman Kevin McCarthy Merit Award, the North County representative announced.

Winners, chosen by their school principals, are Clark Goossen, Arroyo Grande High School; Matthew O’Connell, Atascadero High School; Zachary Schultz, Coastal Christian School; Grayson Dole, North County Christian School; Valerie Lloyd, Paso Robles High School; Matthew Schuman, Shandon High School; and Ryan Elliott, Templeton High School.

The awards were presented at the Atascadero Unified School District office Monday.

McCarthy created the award to recognize outstanding high school students who have demonstrated academic excellence, exemplary school citizenship, volunteerism, community service, involvement in extracurricular activities and leadership skills. They must have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

McCarthy said the award honors “our communities’ best and brightest, recognizing their positive achievements and inspiring all of our students to work toward their goals.”

He said the award helps “create a positive community environment that supports the hard work of the next generation’s leaders.”

— Bob Cuddy

Atascadero

Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo recently received diagnostic equipment as part of a donation from the Hind Foundation.

San Luis Obispo business owners Greg and Jane Hind donated $37,500 to cover the cost of a digital X-ray machine. The Charles Paddock Zoo is at Atascadero Lake Park off Highway 41.

For more information about how to be involved with the Central Coast Zoo Society, the fundraising arm of the zoo, call 470-3182.

— Tonya Strickland

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