It's really hard to imagine the late Donnie Swartz not being thrilled with these choices.

Those of us who knew the long-time YAIAA basketball official would agree that Swartz did what he did for so long because he loved the sport, but more so because he loved kids and wanted them to achieve the greatness they were destined to find.

A few years after his wife, Gretchen Wolf Swartz, succumbed to leukemia, Donnie created the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship award and scholarship, preserving her memory as well as benefiting YAIAA student-athletes since 2001.

This week it was announced that a pair of Susquehannock student-athletes received the Swartz scholarship. Donnie would likely be very happy to see Leah Deter and Tim Frey as the 2013 winners of the $5,000 awards.

Frey, was captain of both the Warriors boys' volleyball and basketball teams and also captain of a VEX robotic team, in addition to being treasurer of the varsity club and class council.

Up next for Frey, who is ranked tops in his class, is the engineering program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

"I'm planning on dual degree with emphasis on aerospace," he said. "They don't have an official aerospace major. The dual degree program is (mechanical) and electrical engineering. I'd really love to go into the space industry and specifically outer space. I think that'd be an awesome career path to go down."

Those are certainly lofty goals, but for kids like Frey, it's what makes them tick.


Deter is another example of this. Her plan is to head to the University of Delaware's biology program with an emphasis on pre-med. She would like to be a doctor some day.

She shadowed Dr. Stacey Robert, who wrote a glowing letter of reference, plus served as a care taker for Robert's mom and children.

In her letter, Robert said Deter has poise and maturity beyond her years with attributes such as care, compassion and character.

Deter played volleyball, basketball and ran track during a busy high school career. She is a member of student council, and served as vice-president this year. She is in the National Honor Society, and was appointed a representative of the superintendent's advisory committee.

She has sung in the chorus and performed in the theatre -- all while ranked in the top 10 percent of her class. Deter said she didn't plan to be this busy in high school, but ...

"I hoped I would be," she said. "I knew I was going to play sports. Athletically I knew what I wanted to do. Socially, I had no idea what student council was till high school. I was glad because if I wasn't busy, I don't know what I would do."

It's all part of time management -- something else at which she and Frey both excel.

"It's huge. I had definitely learned that through high school. Sometimes the hard way," Deter said.

Frey did plenty in addition to sports and studies. He coordinated activities such as buying presents for needy families, among other charitable things. He also was involved with the start-up of a coffee shop within the high school, which opened in November.

"Last year, in an entrepreneur class -- a four-year class -- we learned business stuff. We basically worked on a project the entire period about starting a company," he said. "I thought it would be cool to do something in the school."

The pair had excellent competition for these awards. In all, eight Susquehannock student-athletes were in the running. Both also picked up additional money from other scholarships, in addition to the $5,000 Swartz award.

Both were presented their awards at a banquet last Tuesday, though nobody knew who was going to win the scholarships.

"They took so long to announce a winner it felt like it was a game show," Deter said. "I could feel my heart beating. I didn't know what to expect. The four other seniors were great academically and athletic. I didn't expect to win it. I knew I was up against three qualified girls."

But not everyone was surprised.

"It was not a surprise to me. I would have been surprised if he didn't win it," Warriors boys basketball coach John Zerfing said of Frey. "He was a leader. His leadership was as important as his contributions."

On top of everything, both kids also exemplified sportsmanship, something of the utmost importance to Donnie and Gretchen.

And while Frey and Deter are to be congratulated, so should their families for producing such great examples for all of our children to live by.
Steve Navaroli is a sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reporter Matt Goul contributed to this column.