Catholic Central hosts Thursday’s Speaker Series

SPEAKER SERIES VENUE — Rich Wilinski, left, principal at Catholic Central High School, and Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, meet in Berkman Theater at Lanman Hall to discuss Thursday’s appearance by Michael Hayden as part of the Trinity Health System Presents the Herald-Star Speaker Series. -- Dave Gossett

STEUBENVILLE — Tri-State Area residents who arrive early for Thursday’s next presentation in the Trinity Health System Presents the Herald-Star Speaker Series will have the chance to enjoy performances by students from Catholic Central High School.

While the presentation by retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s Berkman Theater at Lanman Hall, the Central steel drum band, under the direction of Adam Boyd, will perform from 7 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. And, local musical group Spinning Jenny will perform the national anthem right before Hayden takes the stage.

“We’re very proud to be able to host the speaker series once again,” said Rich Wilinski, the school’s principal. “We feel we have an outstanding facility, and we’re pleased that the series is returning here.”

The school hosted the presentation of Mark “Oz” Geist last April 25.

Hayden earned four stars during a career in intelligence that spanned more than 40 years. He is the former director of the National Security and Central Intelligence agencies. A Pittsburgh native, he will discuss the changes he has experienced in the way intelligence is gathered, especially since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He’ll also talk about current events and offer his perspective on how they affect our nation and the world.

“I’m sure he’ll have many insights,” Wilinski said. “He’s very experienced. He’s been in contact with a lot of influential people and can offer a glimpse into what’s happening around the world. His presentation couldn’t come at a better time.”

Hayden has never been afraid to shy away from controversial topics, and his straight-forward manner has made him a sought-after commentator for television news and talk shows and as a guest columnist for major newspapers and magazines. He tells the story of his personal and professional life in his book, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror,” a New York Times best-seller that was named by the Times as one of the 100 most important books of 2016.

Education is an important component of the speaker series, something not lost on its sponsors, including Cattrell Cos. Inc. The Toronto-based firm’s commitment to the series will allow area students to attend Thursday’s presentation at no cost.

Wilinski said students at Central are looking forward to hearing Hayden.

“They are really excited about the possibility of being able to see a person of such high ranking and hearing some of the things he will be speaking about,” Wilinski explained. “Our students are actively involved with current events, and our teachers make sure they are updated on what is going on in the world today.”

School administrators throughout the region have been contacted with the details about how students can obtain tickets. For information, check with school officials or contact Diana Brown at the Herald-Star at (740) 283-4711.

Thursday’s presentation will be the eighth in a series that began on Nov. 14, 2012, with an appearance by former Secret Service agent Clint Hill and his co-author, Lisa McCubbin. Other speakers have included former CIA agents Tony and Jonna Mendez, Capt. Richard Phillips, retired Air Force Col. Mark Tillman, Rebekah Gregory, Geist and Jeanine Pirro. With the exception of Geist, past presentations have been held at the Steubenville High School auditorium.

Joining Trinity, the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and Cattrell as sponsors are Eastern Gateway Community College, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, EZtoUse.com, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV.

Reserved seat tickets are $20 each and are available by visiting heraldstaronline.com; at the Herald-Star office, 401 Herald Square; or by contacting Brown at (740) 283-4711 during regular business hours. All tickets will cost $25 if purchased at the auditorium the night of the presentation.

Copies of “Playing to the Edge” are available for purchase for $25 at the Herald-Star. Attendees who have books will have the opportunity to have them signed after the presentation.

VIP ticket packages are available at a cost of $150 for two tickets and $100 for a single ticket. The package includes admission to a private reception with Hayden that will run from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Catholic Central High School; hors d’oeuvres and beverages; the opportunity to meet Hayden and have a photograph taken with him; a copy of “Playing to the Edge”; a pass for reserved parking at the high school; and special seating for the presentation. Contact Cindy Kotsch at (740) 283-4711 for information.

A preferred seating option priced at $50 per ticket is available. The package includes a paperback copy of “Playing to the Edge,” special seating and the opportunity to be among the first people to meet Hayden after the presentation. Contact Kotsch for details.

Providing special support for the presentation are the Best Western Plus University Inn at Franciscan Square, Piergallini Catering, Catholic Central High School, Newbrough Photo and Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental.


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