2023-24 Sarah M. Hegarty Memorial Scholarship Awardee, Emily Au, DSHA '24

This scholarship was established in 1998 in honor of Sarah M. Hegarty, DSHA ’98. Sarah was an extraordinary young woman and student-athlete who became ill in the spring of her sophomore year, following a state championship-winning basketball season. She underwent numerous surgeries and passed away at age 17, shortly after receiving a triple organ transplant, and just three months shy of graduation. During her two-year illness, she taught her classmates, teachers, and coaches the meaning of faith, courage, friendship, integrity, determination, and humor. 
Jerry and Dolly Hegarty, are the parents of DSHA Board of Director Member Molly Hegarty Kanter; Kathleen Hegarty McDaniel, DSHA ’90; Meghan Hegarty Dean, DSHA ’94; Bridget Hegarty Johnson, DSHA ’95; Sarah Hegarty, DSHA ’98; and Jamie Hegarty. The family established this scholarship around the time of Sarah's passing. Memorial donations built the fund that supports this annual scholarship, given in memory of Sarah and what she meant to the DSHA community. The tribute has lasted for 26 years and will continue perennially for decades to come. The scholarship is awarded to one student for use during her senior year who is willing to reach out to all groups of people and is known to be friendly and outgoing. She must exhibit strong character, leadership development characteristics, involvement in co-curricular activities, and be goal-oriented. Eligible students are voted on by faculty and staff; the top five candidates are then chosen by their peers. Emily Au, DSHA ’24, is the current recipient of this special award.

“Emily and Sarah have so many of the same qualities in terms of their fearlessness in building community and drawing others in. Sarah was so spirited and energetic and competitive. She was also very intentional in being others-focused,” shares Social Studies Faculty Patrick Dawson, who calls it a privilege to have taught both students. “Emily has that same fortitude—both in class or in her co-currciulars. For example, she was one of the founders of the Asian Student Union co-curricular, specifically to be a place for connectivity and to create a sense of belonging in the hope that it would spread across the whole student body. Emily is a great representation of the Sarah Hegarty scholarship because she carries herself with an authenticity that allows her to invest in and better the community around her.”

“To be the recipient of this scholarship is such an honor. It truly is about the lasting community of DSHA—and there is nothing like it,” shares Au. “Everything I have heard about Sarah—her wit, her kindness, and her legacy—motivates me to become my best self, inside and outside of school. We have such rigorous classes here, but we have the best teachers who put time and effort into our learning so we can succeed. We have a sisterhood that is so strong. It all plays into the confidence that we each get to build together over four years.”

Au plans to pursue a career in dentistry or medicine. “I can only strive to be as incredible of a person as Sarah was. I know that in my profession of choice, I’ll need to create intentional connections to flourish. It is so special that I will be able to take a piece of her legacy, inspiration, and confidence with me into all that I accomplish in my future.”
DSHA Activities & Involvement 
  • National Honor Society
  • Asian Student Uniion
  • Furia Latina
  • Basketball 
  • Field Hockey 
  • Track & Field 
  • Student Recruiter 
    • Emily Au, DSHA '24, Sarah M. Hegarty Memorial Scholarship awardee.


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