2020 BPV scholarship winners recognized
Bettendorf-Pleasant Valley Youth Baseball recognized another outstanding class of graduating high school seniors in 2020 by bestowing the honor of a $1,000 college scholarship on four of our organization’s best and brightest alumni.
Selected by BPV’s Board of Directors as 2020 winners of the annual BPV Scholarships were Bettendorf High School’s Joe Byrne and Jake Weas, and Pleasant Valley High School’s Matt Dresselhaus and Brandon DePover.
Byrne was voted the BHS winner. Dresselhaus earned the PVHS award. DePover and Weas shared the Wild Card portion of the honor after finishing in a dead-heat voting tie, each with the same number of first- and second-place votes for the award.
The BPV Scholarship annually recognizes a separate winner from the applied candidates at both BHS and PVHS. The Wild Card was added in 2015 to honor the academic and extra-curricular efforts of all the other applicants from BHS and PVHS combined, as well as by participants from any other school.
The only scholarship requirement is that candidates must have played at least six seasons in the BPV. Academic and extra-curricular excellence is a plus. Community volunteerism adds further weight for successful candidates, particularly behind-the-scenes work giving back to the BPV.
The scholarships are part of BPV’s all-volunteer charitable mission, along with providing the community with baseball regardless of financial need, and funding baseball facility improvements in the local city parks.
“This year’s selection process was extremely difficult, with arguably the deepest and most-talented pool of candidates in the history of our award,” BPV Board Secretary Steve Tappa wrote to all candidates in announcing the voting results.
Videotaped virtual presentations for each winner is located at this link: https://bpv.teampages.com/organizations/21438/videos
PCTURE: Joe Byrne displays his BPV scholarship plaque during a youth baseball game during the summer of 2020 at the Crow Creek Park 4-Plex. https://s3.amazonaws.com/teampages/images/22164746/Joe_Byrne_2020_scholarship_winner.JPG
An Academic All-State performer in football and soccer in 2019, Byrne also earned Academic All-Conference honors in basketball in 2019-20 before finishing with a 3.57 Grade Point Average.
Among several other honors, Byrne was the Patrick A. Burr Outstanding Student Award winner and the Athlete of the Year Nominee as a senior at BHS.
On the athletic field, Byrne also was selected second team All-District in football (2019), first team All-Metro football (2019), Honorable Mention All-Metro football (2018), Honorable Mention All-Conference in soccer (2019), second team All-Metro soccer (2019) and part of the All-State Tournament Team in soccer (2019).
Byrne also was a captain in football (2019) and basketball (2019-20).
Byrne played nine seasons in the BPV, worked five seasons as an umpire, and also volunteered as the announcer for BPV All-Star Games (2012-17). His community service projects also included the FCCLA community service club; the youth ministry at St John Vianney Church; the youth retreat Vacation bible school at church; operating the scoreboard at Bettendorf Youth Basketball Association games; and helping with the Bix 7, Quad Cities Marathon and Bettendorf Family Museum.
Byrne joined the Army National Guard as an engineer before heading to Iowa State University to study business.
“Baseball is a game different from anything else,” Byrne wrote in his scholarship essay. "The most important lesson is resiliency. Failure is so apparent. If you hit the ball 33 percent of the time that is really good, but in any other sport that is average or poor.
“Baseball has taught me how to bounce back and pick my head up. I applied the skills baseball taught me through school and my other sports and right now in life. CoVID-19 came out of left field and most people are freaking out because of it, but for baseball players, it’s just another challenge we need to adjust to and try to bounce back to the best of our abilities.”
PICTURE: Matt Dresselhaus displays his BPV scholarship plaque during a youth baseball game during the summer of 2020 at the Crow Creek Park 4-Plex. https://s3.amazonaws.com/teampages/images/22164749/Matt_Dresselhaus_2020_scholarship_winner_2.JPG
Dresselhaus more than earned his award through his volunteer efforts on behalf of the BPV. In 2016, Dresselhaus worked on the crew that installed a new batting cage at Devils Glen for his brother Andrew’s Eagle Scout project in 2016. For his own Eagle Scout Leadership Project during the winter of 2018/spring of 2019, Dresselhaus headed up a group that worked more than 80 hours emptying, reviewing, sorting, repairing and organizing BPV’s equipment garage in preparation for the 2019 season.
Dresselhaus, who still competes in the BPV Seniors Division, has played 10 seasons and counting in the BPV, including two seasons with the DiamondKings travel program, besides umpiring for the last six seasons.
In high school, Dresselhaus participated in baseball all four seasons and cross country for three seasons, helping Pleasant Valley reach the state baseball quarterfinals in 2019 and 2020. He also participated two years in band and finished with a 2.76 GPA.
Dresselhaus also volunteered at Bettendorf Heritage Church, working as a teaching assistant with pre-schoolers for all four years of high school.
Currently, Dresselhaus is enrolled at Indiana’s Taylor University, where he is part of the NAIA school’s baseball program and is interested in sports management and broadcasting.
“I would like to thank the BPV organization for the last 10 years of many fun-filled baseball memories and helping me become a better athlete and man,” Dresselhaus wrote in his scholarship essay.
“Baseball is a great preparation for life. Life can be difficult, but success is always ahead; and it is a result of hard work and preparation. I have learned that your team is never out of the fight regardless of the score, the disappointments, mistakes, errors or strike-outs.”
PICTURE: Former BPV scholarship winner and volunteer equipment manager Michael Tappa presents a 2020 BPV scholarship to his friend, baseball/football teammate and equipment crew member Brandon DePover during a 2020 graduation party for DePover. https://s3.amazonaws.com/teampages/images/22164731/Michael_Tappa_presenting_2020_BPV_scholarship_to_Brandon_DePover_1.jpg
DePover has spent a decade participating in the BPV as a player. He also volunteered his time behind-the-scenes helping to organize and distribute equipment, as well as providing general maintenance work on the baseball diamonds.
In high school, DePover played football all four years, earning a pair of varsity letters and Academic All-District honors in 2019. He also earned all-conference and all-state weight lifting honors, and participated in track all four years.
DePover’s volunteerism also included helping run PV Youth Athletic Programs, flood-fighting sandbagging efforts in LeClaire and general assistance at the LeClaire Apple Fest.
A high academic achiever, with a 3.35 GPA and 27 ACT test score, DePover is studying engineering at the University of Iowa.
“Baseball has done so much for me as an athlete and more importantly as a person,” DePover wrote in his scholarship essay. “Throughout my years of playing, I have met some truly amazing people and have experienced great moments with those people. After playing and being around the same group of guys for 5-6 years, they become family, and they taught me that you can have family that isn’t blood related. From baseball, I have gained these friends that I would do anything for, and I’ve gained coaches that I will look up to and love forever.”
PICTURE: Jake Weas displays his BPV scholarship plaque during a youth baseball game during the summer of 2020 at the Crow Creek Park 4-Plex. https://s3.amazonaws.com/teampages/images/22164734/Jakes_Weas_2020_scholarship_winner.JPG
Weas, who posted a 3.6 GPA, and finished among the top 50 students in the 2020 BHS graduating class, played baseball his first two seasons in high school before returning to BPV the last two summers. He has played a full decade in the BPV heading into his final two seasons of eligibility starting in the spring of 2021.
Among the academic recognition garnered by Weas were High Honor Roll, an Academic Letter recipient and the prestigious Wayne Cheremy Award.
His community service resume includes volunteering for the North Scott FFA. Weas currently is enrolled at Scott Community College, with an eye on transferring to Iowa State University in two years to continue his studies in Agriculture.
“Throughout my years of BPV baseball, the experience has been second to none,” Weas wrote in his scholarship essay. "I have had the opportunity to meet so many people and am proud to say they are my baseball family.
“I look forward to seeing all of my friends and previous coaches at the beginning of every season. From Coach Crowley, Coach Rivera and Coach Tappa, and all of the players in the league, we share all of our experiences together in memories that we will never forget.
“When I am older, I plan on coaching a team. Through all of the experience and knowledge I have gained from my coaches, I feel I have to pass on that knowledge to other kids like me. Playing BPV Youth Baseball has taught ne much more than just baseball and has encouraged me to achieve new heights.”