DeSimone selected as recipient of Sechriest scholarship

Photo provided to the Times Observer Olivia Sechriest, left, presents Youngsville High School senior Matt Desimone with the Dr. John H. Sechriest Scholarship. Desimone plans to attend Slippery Rock to study physical therapy.

A Youngsville High School senior who plans to pursue a career in physical therapy has been awarded a $15,000 scholarship.

Matt DeSimone, who will attend Slippery Rock in the fall, has been selected as a recipient of the John H. Sechriest Scholarship.

For decades, John Sechriest educated Warren County students — as a teacher, a principal, and administrator, and the director of the St. Bonaventure Dual Enrollment project in Russell.

He passed away in 2021 and this scholarship was first awarded last year in his memory.

Sechriest’s wife, Olivia, said that they believe DeSimone was the “right recipient.

“His grade placement is high and his attitude is positive,” she said. “He stated gratitude for the support he has received from his parents through the years and felt a desire to help them with his college education.”

Part of the scholarship is the completion of a project that gives back to the community in some way. Desimone is planning to place a bench in Dr. Sechriest’s name at the Warren Court Fair.

“He did not know of John but did some research to determine John’s interests,” Olivia said of Desimone. “His project is one that can be accomplished without many complications.

“Matt appears to be an organized thinker and gets the work done in a compassionate manner.”

DeSimone said he plans to major in exercise science – physical therapy “as my hopes are to further my education to help in the community. I feel this will make an impact in serving others.”

“I chose this major because I admired both of my grandfathers very much and they both benefited from physical therapy while under nursing home care,” he explained. “My brother and I both required therapy due to sports related injuries and we both benefited from our therapy.

“That door has opened up for me the opportunity to receive an education that will help others.”

The requirements for the scholarship are strict — obtain and maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in high school and college; write an essay stating the following: why they are interested in the scholarship, what educational degree they intend to pursue, and how they intend to utilize their educational degree; plan a project that will serve the community of Warren County; present the project to the scholarship committee for approval and complete the project before the start of their fourth year of college.

Dr. Sechriest was a 1955 graduate of Warren Area High School and served in various education roles for over 50 years. He was a principal at Beaty, Warren Area High School and Eisenhower before shifting into administrative roles, retiring in 2006. He then led the St. Bonaventure dual enrollment program until 2016.


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