Two Ligonier Valley High School Seniors Top Winners in Wimmer Scholarship Competition at SVC

by Public Relations | Jan 08, 2018

Jan 8, 2018

Ligonier Valley High School winners Andrew R. Klein and Wade Rashilla

Two seniors at Ligonier Valley High School –- Andrew R. Klein and Wade Rashilla -- have been named the top winners in Saint Vincent College’s 37th annual Wimmer Scholarship Competition, according to an announcement by Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president.

Klein, son of Ken and Tina Klein of Ligonier, won the top award of a four-year, full-tuition, room and board scholarship valued at more than $178,000, and Rashilla, son of Matthew and Pamela Rashilla of Ligonier, won the second place award of a four-year, full-tuition scholarship valued at more than $134,000.

Klein and Rashilla were surprised with the presentation of the scholarship awards in “prize patrol style” with an oversized check, balloons and flowers at their school on Monday, Jan. 8. Steve Neitz, dean of admission, and Christina Andrae, associate director of admission, made the presentations.

Klein has been accepted by the Physics Department in Saint Vincent College’s Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing. He is a member of the Science Club, Honor Roll and is involved in tutoring his peers.

Rashilla plans to major in accounting in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government at Saint Vincent College. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Competition (finalists to be announced in the spring), co-captain of the Ligonier Valley varsity basketball team (all-conference academic selection), member of the Ligonier Valley varsity track team and the Ligonier Valley math team. He was also a winner in the American Legion Essay Competition and a recent first-place finisher at the regional Future Business Leaders of America accounting competition, which qualifies him for the state competition.

Two additional students, Alan J. Lazar of Greensburg, a senior at Hempfield Area Senior High School, and Christopher W. Risnear of Jeannette, a senior at Penn-Trafford High School, were also named winners of four-year, full-tuition scholarships valued at more than $134,000.

Hempfield Area High School winner Alan J. Lazar

Lazar is the son of Alan and Sheri Lazar of Greensburg. He plans to major in philosophy and politics in the Saint Vincent College School of Humanities and Fine Arts. A National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student, he is a four-year member of the Hempfield Area Spartan Marching Band as well as Stage Band, Concert Band, Orchestra and the Westmoreland County College Band. He has participated on the Hempfield Area High School Speech and Debate Team and has been a participant on the Department of Energy Science Bowl Team since he was in Middle School.

Penn-Trafford High School winner Christopher W. Risnear

Risnear is the son of Steven and Lynda Risnear of Penn Township. He has been accepted by the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing to major in biology. He plans to attend medical school and was recently approved for LECOM’s early acceptance program. He has participated on the varsity wrestling team, Academic Quiz Team, and in the National Honor Society. He has also served as a volunteer for Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital and Tri-City Meals on Wheels. He is the recipient of the Yale Book Award and the National Merit Scholarship Commended Student Award. He attended Penn State’s Conservation Leadership School and was a junior counselor at Keystone State Park Conservation School.


The Wimmer Scholarship Program is named in honor of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer who founded Saint Vincent College in 1846 as the first Benedictine college in the United States. The program is designed to recognize high school students with outstanding academic abilities and to encourage them to pursue a quality undergraduate education at Saint Vincent. The scholarship winners are based on their performance on a written examination which was given at the College in November. Students who participated in this year’s examination were college-bound and met academic qualifications of a minimum 3.5 grade point average and 1080 SAT. This is the 37th year for the scholarship competition. Two hundred and fifty-seven high school students participated in the competition this year.

Saint Vincent is a four-year, coeducational, Catholic, liberal arts and sciences college sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey.

A diverse student population of undergraduates and graduate students hails from 29 U.S. states/territories and six foreign countries.

The College’s quality educational programs have earned national recognition, most recently by College Scorecard, U.S. News and World Report (First Tier of National Liberal Arts Colleges), Forbes business magazine (America’s Best Colleges), Washington Monthly (Best Liberal Arts Colleges), College Factual (First in Pennsylvania and Top Five Percent Nationwide among Best Colleges for the Money) and Niche (Top Ten Catholic Colleges in Pennsylvania).

Saint Vincent College's approach to education is rooted in a core curriculum that provides all students with a broad-based education which provides a general body of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, an interdisciplinary view of that knowledge base, and the skills to increase that general body of knowledge throughout their lives.

Photo A: Ligonier Valley High School winners Andrew R. Klein and Wade Rashilla (center) with their parents, from left, Tina and Ken Klein, and Pamela and Matthew Rashilla.

Photo B: Hempfield Area High School winner Alan J. Lazar (center) with, from left, Christina Andrae, associate director of admission; Joseph Altman, guidance counselor; Kathleen Charlton, head principal; and Steve Neitz, dean of admission.

Photo C: Penn-Trafford High School winner Christopher W. Risnear (center) with his parents, Steve and Lynda Risnear.


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