Boys and Girls of the Coastside honored local youth with this year’s Youth of the Year, Junior Youth of the Year, and Surfer Youth of the Year awards.

“It’s just a great opportunity to recognize young people,” said Jill Jacobson, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. “I think people are excited to have us highlight good things in young people when so much of the news is sad or frustrating things.”

The Albert Dennis Plank Memorial Scholarship, made possible through Diana Plank and Sybil Plank, is awarded to the Junior Youth of the Year, and Parsons Wealth Management provides the scholarship for the Youth of the Year. The scholarships are to be used for education.

The award recipients are selected by the staff on the criteria of leadership, participation and academic achievement.

Monserrat Pimentel was awarded this year’s Junior Youth of the Year award.

“I nominated Monserrat because she has been with us since she was a rising sixth-grader all the way to eighth grade, so I saw her growing from a sixth-grader to a really mature eighth-grader,” said Sandra Sarabia, Cunha site manager. “She is so helpful and she always knows what's right from wrong. She comes and helps with everything we do and is always involved. Watching her grow … has been amazing.”

Pimentel has been with the Boys and Girls Club for all three years at Cunha Intermediate School and is an active member. One of her friends won the award in a previous year in eighth grade so she has always wanted to win it as well.

“I was surprised,” Pimentel said. “I’ve always wanted to, in a way, actually be able to get this prize. Knowing that I already have some money to continue studying, and that, at least for a little bit, I’m not going to have to worry much about the money is nice.”

The Youth of the Year Award went to Diego Quiroz.

“We look at a bunch of different factors like involvement with the club, community service hours, academics and attendance,” said Amanda Larson, who nominated Quiroz. “He’s been here pretty much every single day and has been really involved with the teens at the teens center. Diego was also a member that held outstanding grades both semesters. He really hit a lot of the points that we are looking for.”

This year Quiroz was at the Boys and Girls Club regularly and helped with the Christmas tree sale event, the egg hunt, and worked with the younger kids doing things like Rubix cubes.

The Surfer Youth of the Year was awarded to Weston Warren for his athletic success, leadership and sportsmanship.

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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