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SVC Announces 2024 Wimmer Scholarship Award recipients

SVC Announces 2024 Wimmer Scholarship Award recipients

by Public Relations | February 01, 2024

LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., has announced that four high school students will be awarded scholarships to Saint Vincent College as a result of their performance in the College’s 43rd annual Wimmer Scholarship Competition.

As the first-place finisher in the Scholarship Competition, Eli Duvall, a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area Senior High School, has been awarded a four-year, full-tuition, room and board scholarship valued at more than $200,000.

Three students have been awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships, valued at more than $150,000, by virtue of their performance in the competition: Johnathan Ciecierski, a senior at Franklin Regional Senior High School; Sylvia Luffy, a senior at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School; and Benjamin Poole, also a senior at Franklin Regional Senior High School.

This year’s competition drew more than 80 entrants.


Eli DuvallDuvall.jpg

Eli Duvall is a senior at Mt. Pleasant Area Senior High School. In gifted education since first grade (Gamma Omega), he is the treasurer of Mt. Pleasant’s chapter of the National Honor Society as well as a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and received National Spanish Exam honorable mention. Eli is also a member of the Spanish and Chess Clubs and the Westmoreland Interscholastic Reading Competition Club. Also a member of the Mt. Pleasant chapter of the Council on Substance Abuse and Youth (CSAY), Eli received the CSAY Youth Award. He enjoys participating on the Varsity Quiz Team and is the Team’s highest scorer.

Outside of the classroom, Eli enjoys soccer. In 11th grade, he was an honorable mention for the WPIAL 3-2A All-Section team before taking a spot on the All-Section team his senior year. A member of the varsity soccer team, Eli has been a three-year letter winner and enjoys volunteering for youth soccer teams in the community. Eli is also a member of the varsity tennis team and has been a four-year letter winner.

Recent named “Teen of the Week” for “The Daily Courier,” which places him in the running for the paper’s “Student of the Year” award, Eli enjoys reading, spending time on the boat with his family, hiking and camping and exploring nature. 

Eli is the son of Jamie and Clayton Duvall. He plans to study engineering and environmental chemistry and would like to minor in Spanish.


Benjamin PoolePoole.jpg

Benjamin Gregory Poole is a senior at Franklin Regional Senior High School. At school, Benjamin takes honors and AP classes and his favorites are history and math courses. He was recognized as a National Merit Commended Student and a Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen. Benjamin has also earned his Eagle Scout, won three regional competitions in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), placed at states for FBLA, is a three-year soccer letterman and is an AP Scholar.

A varsity soccer captain, Benjamin is also a commanding officer and the trombone section leader in the marching band, president of Franklin’s National Honor Society chapter, and is the FBLA-PA Region 11 president. He is involved in youth ministry, baseball, mock trial, Helping Homebound Heroes, club futsal, Boy Scouts of America, wind ensemble and jazz band and the musical, and he has previously served as class president.

Benjamin enjoys serving his community through tutoring, altar serving, pontifical serving and helping with local youth sports. His passions include spending time with family, cooking and eating, traveling, anything dealing with sports, coin collecting, history and reading.

Benjamin is the son of Gregory and Michelle Poole and is a proud member of Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Parish in Murrysville. He plans to study accounting and finance in college and minor in history before attending law school.


Sylvia LuffyLuffy.jpeg

Sylvia is a senior at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS). She has been enrolled in their University Scholars Program, a highly competitive program for accelerated and motivated learners, since eighth grade. In her time at PALCS, Sylvia has achieved Distinguished Honor Roll every semester and is ranked 4th in her class of 436.

Sylvia is a member of the National Honor Society and has earned the Scholar Athlete Award each year she has played high school softball. As a junior, she won the Jane Addams Award for Academic Excellence in social studies. Prior to her senior year, during Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, Sylvia earned the Outstanding Achievement Award for finance, a statewide honor. 

A softball pitcher since grade school, Sylvia has played at the community, club and high school level. As a multi-year letter winner, she helped her team to two section championships and three consecutive years of WPIAL playoffs. In addition to playing softball, Sylvia is a New Student Ambassador for PALCS and belongs to the Book and Photography Clubs.  

Sylvia has held a number of part-time jobs over her high school career, including positions in food service, retail and child care. Her responsibilities outside the classroom include tending her grandparents’ beehives and coordinating donations of their surplus honey and fresh produce to the local food bank where she volunteers. She is also a faithful, multi-year volunteer for The Spina Bifida Association of Western PA, for which she helps organize, coordinate and participate in annual fundraisers. 

In her free time, Sylva enjoys reading, watching movies, playing with her dogs and spending time with her family. She is the daughter of Andrew and Sharon Luffy. Sylvia intends to study finance in college, with a focus on how psychological influences affect market outcomes.


Johnathan Ciecierski023-Ciecierski.jpg

A senior at Franklin Regional High School, John is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and a member of the National Honor Society.    

At school, John serves as a captain of the Science Olympiad team, captain of the Mock Trial team, vice president of the Science National Honor Society, treasurer of Student Council and a proud four-year lineman on the FR Panther Football team. He recently took first place in the Judo Battle Bot section of the Gateway Engineering Competition, won the regional Student Congress competition and was thrilled to be a part of the National Champion Math Madness team.      

In his free time, John enjoys competing in game design challenges and has accomplished being named a Ludum Dare Game Challenge – Top 40 Winner. His preference lies in creating games that help children with special needs learn how to develop everyday life skills. This past summer, John was selected to participate in Simcoach Games Summer Apprenticeship program. When not hidden in his design lab, John can be found regularly working out at CrossFit Tantrum in Murrysville.     

John is the son of James and Gwyn Ciecierski and belongs to the Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Parish. After graduation, John plans on studying engineering and computer Science.  

About the Wimmer Scholarship

The Wimmer Scholarship program is named after Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, who founded Saint Vincent College in 1846 as the first Benedictine college in the U.S. The program recognizes high school students with outstanding academic abilities and encourages them to pursue a quality undergraduate education at Saint Vincent College.

The scholarship winners are based on their performance on a written examination administered at Saint Vincent in December and January. The students who participated in this year’s exam were college-bound and met the academic qualifications of a minimum 3.75 GPA, as well as a documented SAT score of 1,300 or above or a minimum ACT score of 28. Students with no documented SAT or ACT scores were eligible to sit for the exam if they held a 4.0 GPA and have successfully completed six AP/college courses.

About Saint Vincent College

Saint Vincent College 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 undergraduate and graduate students hails from 31 U.S. states/territories and eight foreign countries.

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 breadth of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy and theology. This interdisciplinary view of that knowledge provides students with the skills to become life-long learners and leaders in their field.



PHOTO 1: Eli Duvall

PHOTO 2: Benjamin Poole

PHOTO 3: Sylvia Luffy

PHOTO 4: Johnathan Ciecierski