Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Awards $5,000 in Scholarships


dana-point-chamber-scholarship-winnersThe Dana Point Chamber of Commerce honored 2015 Dana Hills High School (DHHS) student scholarship winners Taylor Carter, Colin Hicks, Bryana Koontz, Julie Lisle and Sophie Ripley with a total of $5,000 in sponsorships. Each graduating senior was awarded a $1,000 scholarship based on their scholastic achievement as well as their participation and leadership in school and community activities. Scholarship checks were dispersed at a Dana Hills High School ceremony in the beginning of June, and the winners were invited to attend the Chamber’s monthly mixer on July 16, 2015 held at The Fountains at Sea Bluffs where they were further honored in front of the Chamber’s membership.

Each year, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce raises funds from its members for graduating students interested in pursuing an education in Business, Community Service, Culinary Arts, Marine Science and Hotel Management. The Chamber’s Education Committee, led by Chairman Richard Deffenbaugh of Dana Point Auto for the past two years, has raised and donated $10,000 for the DHHS scholarship program, the largest amount since inception.

In addition to serving as a Student Senator in her senior year, recipient Taylor Carter was an active member of several clubs at DHHS including South Orange County School of the Arts (SOCSA), Color Guard, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Health & Medical Occupations Academy, Save Our Students and the Gay-Straight Alliance. She also volunteers at Kaiser Permanente facilities and cares for animals as a PetSmart volunteer. Carter plans to pursue a degree in Education or Nursing.

Awarded Interactor of the Year for following the motto “service above self,” recipient Colin Hicks excelled as President of the Dana Hills Interact Club. He is recognized for initiating the school’s Environmental Education Center Club (EEC) and has won three Student of the Month awards. He was also a dedicated volunteer at the 2014 Dana Point Turkey Trot. Hicks is working as a recreation leader for the City of Dana Point this summer and will attend CSU Fullerton studying Business Management in the fall.

Recipient Bryana Koontz academic achievements were recognized with placements on both the DHHS Principal’s Honor Roll and Superintendent’s Honor Roll. She also competed on the school’s swim team and water polo team. This summer, she travels to the Philippines to aid underprivileged children on a mission trip with her church group. Upon return, Koontz plans to attend the Dominican University of California in San Rafael studying Nursing with a specialization in Neonatology.

Recipient Julie Lisle was deeply engaged in the Health and Medical Occupations Academy at DHHS. She also competed on the cross-country running team and lettered in swimming. Lisle will be attending University of Arizona pursuing a degree in Speech and Hearing Science.

Recipient Sophie Ripley maintained a 4.0 GPA and was selected as DHHS class of 2015 Valedictorian. She made National Honors Society in both junior and senior years as well as California Scholarship Federation. In addition, she was awarded the Seal of Biliteracy for attaining proficiency in two languages by graduation. Additionally, she volunteered at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the Ocean Institute and the Festival of the Arts. She aims to major in an environmental science while attending Santa Barbara City College and proceeding to a 4-year school.

“The quality of applications received this year was amazing,” said Heather Johnston, Executive Director of Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud our recipients’ achievements and aspirations and extend a big congratulates to each of them. We thank our members for their generosity and continued support of our scholarship program.”

The Chamber of Commerce collect funds for the scholarship program year-round. If interested in donating, click here.