Pacific Swimming
Level 4
Excellence 300

Putting Character First

Miramonte High School Integrity in Aquatics Scholarship

Don Heidary, Orinda Aquatics/Miramonte High School initiated an annual $1,000 scholarship based on "Integrity in Aquatics."  This is a one-time, non-recurring scholarship which seeks to find the greatest representation of character and integrity in aquatic athletes at Miramonte High School. The nominees must be role models in every capacity and daily examples of a life driven by character, high-level athletic pursuit, and a commitment to academics.  They must represent not only the finest qualities of a high-character athlete, but through their words and deeds, motivate their peers to make positive life choices and navigate a path away from the drug and alcohol epidemic that plagues our youth.  Thank you to all of you who choose to walk this path. 


“Followers see the hard work they must endure to climb the mountain of success. Leaders see the success of climbing the mountain of hard work.”

  The applicant must:

  ·       Be a senior at Miramonte

·         Have swam for four years and be “aquatic” on a year-round basis, i.e. U.S. Swimming and/or multiple programs

·         Be academically proficient with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and be college bound

   Applicants must be nominated with a short essay explaining why they are deserving (see below)


Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids. Aristotle


The applicant must demonstrate:

  ·       Leadership in all areas and have earned the respect of their teammates

·         Humility and compassion

·         A positive attitude through the most challenging aspects of being an athlete

·         An anti-drug and alcohol lifestyle and must support others to do the same

·         A commitment to train and to develop as an athlete at the highest level

·         Excellent attendance in all programs

·         A commitment and a desire to lead in competition as well as support their teammates to do the same

·         The traits of the “uncommon professional” in daily duty with regard to set up, clean up, team support functions

·         Helping when needed and helping those in need

·         An appreciation and respect for their parents and their family

·         An appreciation for, and a commitment to, academics, as well as an appreciation for faculty, staff, administrators, the school, and the academic process. 


“....that the truth lies within you—as does all the power you will ever need to change the direction of your life and the course of human history.” Margaret Mead


2013 Winner: Megan Howard

2012 Winners: Jenna Haufler, Sam Swinton, Kelly Noah

2010 Inaugural Winner: Brooke Woodward



Dear Brooke,

First, a little background.  A few years ago I was asked by Becky Penskar to present a scholarship award to her at a ceremony at Miramonte.  A number of scholarships were given for various reasons and purposes.  There was recognition for academics, for skills and talents, for athletics, but not for simply being a good person or making good decisions.  So I began to think about an award or scholarship that would be aquatics oriented and but based on integrity.  A short time after that I decided I would create such a scholarship.  I had intended to submit it to Miramonte in the 2009-2010 school year for open application.  With the distractions early in the season, my focus became committed elsewhere.  As the season evolved, I began to reconsider whether or not I would have this be an open application, or simply choose the recipient privately.  At this point, I am still not sure the best way to proceed.  Regardless, it is now exists.  And whether or not it is a school sponsored process, one thing is crystal clear.  You are the unequivocal representation of “Integrity in Aquatics” at Miramonte, and anywhere for that matter.  I had decided a while ago that there was no reason to open this up in any capacity this year, and that you had earned and deserved this recognition.  I may offer a runner-up award but have not yet decided.  So, congratulations on being the inaugural winner of the Miramonte High School Integrity in Aquatics Scholarship. I could not imagine a more deserving individual, or one more representative of the cornerstones of what this recognition is designed to acknowledge. 


I have seen all too clearly that it is not navigating the academic or athletic landscape that is the most challenging for youth.  It is navigating the character landscape; to live a life of integrity in the midst of extreme social and peer pressures.  You have not only done this, but become the standard.  You have been the quintessential student-athlete and a role model for those who value and pursue athletics, academics, and character on a high level.  Your gifts transcend sports and should be emulated by every young athlete.  I have watched you grow into an extraordinary young woman and not only live a life of character but a life of conviction.  You have demonstrated stoic purpose, deliberate thought, and sincere compassion.  While many do make good decisions, most do so silently.  They know what is right but do not take a stand against what is wrong.  Through your incredible maturity, you have done this, and set yourself apart.  And from a swimming perspective, your integrity in the water is simply impeccable – every day, every set, every lap is executed with purpose and focus.  You have been a coach in the water and the one whose opinion I respect and value most.    


You have not only made a year-round commitment to swimming, you have made a year-round, and a life-long commitment to character, to discipline, to sacrifice, and to a greater good – your team.  While your path has not been easy, it has only revealed the tremendous resilience, perseverance, and mental and physical fortitude that defines your life.  You have shown that success in life does not and should not come without commitment and without a price.  Few can live by the saying, “Don’t ask for anything, if you are not willing to give everything.”  And thus, you lived your own quote, “what you are becoming day by day is infinitely more important than what you are today.”  Look at what you have become, day by day - a leader, a role model, an inspiration, the pinnacle of respect, and “world class.” 


The quotes mentioned previously not only apply to you, they are you.  “Followers see the hard work they must endure to climb the mountain of success, while leaders see the success of climbing the mountain of hard work.”  And, “when he took the time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself.”  Thank you for helping our team up the mountain.  And my favorite, “The world waits for you, in the place where you are.  Heal it now.  There is much you can do.”  Brooke, there is much you have done.  You have been an anchor and a beacon of light for a team that needed you.    


It is has been a true privilege to know you and to coach you.  With love and immense respect, Donnie



“Not in time, place, or circumstance, but in man lies success.”