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The annual sports awards night at York Tech on June 3 was extra special this year for Donte Grim and Keevon Rice.

The seniors benefited from the boys' basketball team having won its first Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award at the end of the season. Grim and Rice recently won the two individual $7,500 scholarships awarded to senior members of the program.

The Spartans' program was selected after the basketball season in a vote of the York Chapter of the PIAA Basketball Officials. The Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund board of directors then selected the individual scholarship winners in May.

Although Rice went to the ceremony knowing he had won something, the scholarship and what it was for came as a complete surprise.

"When we found out we got invited to the awards, and that everyone had won something, I thought mine would be for my attendance," said Rice, who only missed one day of school from kindergarten through his high school graduation.

Grim had a slight idea that the scholarship was a possibility, but was still surprised to hear his name called.

"It was a nice surprise," said Grim of winning the award. "I had a little bit of an idea it might come. It really means a lot."

Gretchen Wolf Swartz was a York County basketball official from 1981 through 1995. Following her untimely death from leukemia in 1997, her fellow officials created the memorial team awards and a scholarship fund to promote and honor the sportsmanship she championed.

Each year, at season's end, the York-Adams basketball officials vote to recognize one boys' and girls' program. The winning program displays the highest conduct all season long on many levels, including its players, fans, faculty, students, managers, coaches and cheerleaders, ranging from junior high through varsity.

This was the first year the Tech boys were chosen. The Biglerville girls' program was also honored this season. Rebecca Isaac and Maddie Wenk were also awarded $7,5000 scholarships. The Canner girls were previously honored in 2007 and 2011. The Biglerville boys received the award in 2009.

Grim was not only delighted with winning the scholarship, but proud he could help the program win the award as well.

"It was a real honor because me and Keevon were the first to ever get it from Tech," Grim said.

Rice echoed his teammates' sentiments.

"That was a big thing, knowing that it was our first time ever winning," Rice said. "And it was a big help to my college funds."

Grim said he is leaning toward attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to study either mechanical engineering or machining. He is also considering playing basketball for the school.

Rice, who also played football for the Spartans, is temporarily putting aside his athletic career to focus on architectural drafting at Pittsburgh Technical Institute. He is open to the possibility of a transfer to pursue college basketball in a few years.

This year's $30,000 in total scholarships reflects a significant increase over last year, when one member from each winning team won a $7,500 scholarship, and another from each team won a $2,500 scholarship.

The first scholarships – both in the amount of $1,000 – were awarded in 2001. More than $50,000 in scholarship dollars have since been awarded.

— Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com

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