Matthew Seligman's family moved from Rhode Island to Murrysville when he was in sixth grade -- a tough time for a change of scenery, but he had an advantage.
"I'm a Jehovah's Witness," said Matthew, a 15-year-old sophomore at Franklin Regional High School. Members of the Murrysville Congregation helped the Seligmans move in, and then provided an instant network -- as well as a way to meet people.
"We go out into the community and we minister and preach about our beliefs to those in our community," said Matthew on Saturday, the day after he got home from the hospital. As a result he's comfortable talking with others, even about his relationship with God.
He's also perfectly happy talking about science -- his current favorite classes are Visual Basic computer programming and biology -- and his favorite computer game is Kerbal Space Program.
"It's very realistic," Matthew said, noting that it involves designing rockets for interplanetary missions bounded by the laws of physics. His next mission: Snag an asteroid so he can study its composition.
On Wednesday morning, Matthew stopped by the school library before homeroom.
"I heard this sort of commotion outside and I thought it was some people screwing around or joking around," he said. "The fire alarm started going off, and it was way too early for them to do a fire drill."
Even if the alarm was accidental or the work of a prankster, he would have to evacuate the building, Matthew reasoned.
"I noticed that everybody was running," he said, so he ran, too. "I felt like someone had rammed into the back of me. Then I felt this throbbing in my back where the guy got me. Then I screamed, 'Ah, what was that?' "
He then felt an indescribable sensation that he now believes was the knife sliding out of his back. He said he did not register the identity of the attacker, noting that he had only a passing acquaintance with the student charged in the stabbings, Alex Hribal.
A staff member whom Matthew would identify only as Amy yelled, "'There's a knife!'"
"Then when she heard me yell, 'Ow,' she knew exactly what was going on," said Matthew. She asked if he was hurt. "I reached down and came up with blood all over my fingers, and I said, 'Yes, I am.' "
Amy helped Matthew out of the school, he said, on to a grassy spot. "Another student who I don't know," but who appeared to have medical training, Matthew said, "gave her a towel and told her to apply pressure to where I was hurt."
Paramedics arrived and took Matthew to Forbes Hospital, where he stayed until Friday.
"He actually cut my liver a little bit, but not bad," said Matthew. "I'm up and I'm walking, and all things considered, I'm doing fine."
"We really appreciate Forbes Hospital and the school and everybody" who has rallied around Matthew and his schoolmates in recent days, said his father, Steven Seligman, a vice president at Forum Lighting. "They've been really phenomenal to us the whole time."
Mr. Seligman hoped that the event wouldn't be a major bump in his son's road toward whatever's next -- maybe an internship and shopping for a college. "We just started talking about that kind of stuff in the past few weeks," Mr. Seligman said. They'll be back at it soon.
Is this incident going to define him or change his trajectory?
"I'm probably never going to forget this, at least for a long time," Matthew said. "I don't intend to let it completely change my life."
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or Twitter: @richelord.