On Saturday August 23, 2014, Madonna High School inducted its Class of 2014 into the Madonna Hall of Fame. Madonna High School has a strong and proud tradition of alumni, parents, teachers, coaches and friends that have made great contributions to our school and our community. The Class of 2014 inductees included John Backel, Robert Canei, Melvin Coleman, Donald and Betty Gianni, John Greco, Jayne Andochick Kline, Babe Lesho, and Diocese of Wheeling Charleston.
John Backel, class of 1963, was inducted for School Service. John has served the Madonna Football program for decades. From coaching Jr. Don Football to maintaining the field (fertilizing the field, mowing the grass, and striping the field) and the football facilities (remodeling the weight room and building some of the equipment), John has worked tirelessly to serve Madonna High School. For his dedication, John was presented with the School Service Award.
Also from the class of 1963, Robert Canei, was inducted as Male Athlete. Bob’s athletic achievements during his high school career are extensive. He was the leading ground gainer and top scorer for the 1st championship team at Madonna High School. Bob also received a full football scholarship to Memphis State where he majored in Business Administration. For his athleticism, Bob was inducted with the Male Athlete Award.
Former boys’ basketball coach, Melvin Coleman was inducted as Male Coach. Mel served as a science teacher and boys’ basketball coach from 1968 to 1974. He was one of only four African American coaches in the state of West Virginia in 1973. Mel served as an inspiration and positive role model for not only his players, but also his students. For this, he was inducted to the Hall of Fame receiving the Male Coach Award.
Donald and Betty Gianni have been supporters of Catholic Education for decades. Educated in Catholic Schools, the Gianni’s sent all of their children to Madonna High School. Seventeen of their grandchildren have also attended Madonna. The Gianni’s have generously supported Madonna throughout the years. Donald and Betty were inducted to the Hall of Fame, receiving the Philanthropy Award.
1982 Alumni, John Greco, was inducted for Public Service. A local business man, John has been involved in numerous service projects in the Weirton Area. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army and has served as Campaign Chairman for the United Way. John also serves many other local organizations. For his service, John was inducted with the Public Service Award.
Jayne Andochick Kline graduated from Madonna High School in 1979. A former cheerleader, Jayne was recruited to play basketball. Jayne’s talent was immediately noticed, and she was a starter her entire high school career. She was the first Madonna basketball player to score 1,000 points and received a 4 year scholarship to The College of Steubenville (now Franciscan University). For her achievements, Jayne was inducted with the Female Athlete Award.
Graduating from Madonna in 1962, Babe Lesho has been an integral part of the Madonna Family. A member of the Madonna staff for decades, Babe is an authority on Madonna history and tradition. Her loyalty and dedication to Madonna High School is undeniable, and the impact that she has made on students and families is reinforced by the number of graduates that return to visit. Babe retired from Madonna this year and was inducted to the Hall of Fame receiving the School Service Award.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has proudly supported Madonna High School for the past 59 years. Their contributions and support for nearly six decades has been immeasurable. The Diocese is responsible for the extensive renovations of our school building and grounds. They provide a tuition assistance program for our high school. Many of our Madonna families benefit from the generosity of the Diocese. For their ongoing support, the Stewardship Award was given to the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston.
The Weirton Madonna High School Hall of Fame exists to recognize outstanding Alumni and school supporters for their significant achievements and contributions to Madonna High School. These individuals provide a source of pride and distinction to the Madonna High School Family. These role models also present an inspiration and incentive for current and future students. If you have a candidate you would like to nominate for the Madonna Hall of Fame Class of 2016, I encourage you to complete and return a nomination form.