Madonna prepares its students for their future

Weirton Madonna High School exists to better students through educational and spiritual means to help them be successful in the world. While this was not always true, a college degree is required in many ways to attain high-level jobs within the modern American workforce.

Obviously, Madonna High School is, as the name implies, a high school. Even with this fact, the faculty and staff of Madonna High School excel to provide students with clear paths to success beyond the doors of Saint Joseph’s Church, where students and faculty spend time in Mass every Wednesday, and beyond the doors of Madonna High School.

The staff of Madonna High School achieve post-secondary school success for its students through a number of programs starting while students are still in high school. Advanced Placement classes are readily available for juniors and seniors at Madonna. Madonna High School is very unique, as it is one of the only high schools in West Virginia to have an AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics teacher. Most schools in West Virginia host this class online. Madonna High School also has an agreement with nearby West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC), which offers several classes online and at their Weirton campus for Madonna students to take. These classes include basic history classes, English classes, and a plethora of social science courses.

For many Madonna alumni and current students, these classes are essential for college preparation. Current Madonna seniors may very well graduate Madonna High School with 21 credit hours of college. Madonna students in this position are prepared to enter college (almost) as academic sophomores. Madonna alumni attending West Virginia University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, West Liberty University, and Gannon University, along with many others, will be more than happy to tell anyone of the purposeful head start they were able to achieve while still in high school.

WVNCC classes are conducted in the mornings before seniors are required to be present at Madonna High School. These classes help give Madonna seniors a taste of college in every aspect. These students privy to this linkage program have head starts on how to deal with college-level work, responsibility, and professors. These classes also lift much of the financial burden off future college students at Madonna High School. WVNCC-Madonna linkage classes cost only $75 per class, which is far less than most other community colleges and universities. Also, these classes are taught by certified professors who have become proficient in their respective fields over years of teaching at WVNCC and other institutions.

Approximately half of the Madonna senior class takes these college classes. Approximately a quarter of Madonna seniors take the full 21 hours available. These seniors plan to attend a number of schools such as West Virginia University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Auburn University, and the Catholic University of America. Each of these schools readily accept transfer credits from WVNCC. These classes and the Madonna students in these classes represent the pinnacle of what Madonna High School stands for: academic excellence through Christ. These same seniors who attend WVNCC in the morning share Mass with Father Dennis Schuelkens every Wednesday. Each of these actions assist in the strengthening of not only the Madonna family, but also of the greater Weirton community.

In plain financial terms, these WVNCC entry level courses assist far more than just Madonna seniors. By lifting some of the financial burden of college off seniors at Madonna High School, more money will be injected into the Weirton community later as these seniors attend college, receive a degree, and begin working with less debt. The WVNCC-Madonna linkage program is truly unique and one of the best financial assisters high school level students could wish to receive. These classes also leave indelible marks upon the Madonna seniors as they learn how to cope with college level work and how to discuss issues and facts of our society on a more collegiate level.

The mission of any high school is to better prepare its students for the future. Madonna High School’s staff and faculty surpass this expectation through the ideals of community. The faculty and staff at Madonna understand that Madonna High School is not merely a school. It is a community and a family. Just as a mother wants best for her children, so do the staff and faculty of Madonna High School wish the best for Madonna students. One of the best ways imaginable this has been achieved is by granting Madonna seniors hands on college experience through the WVNCC-Madonna linkage program. On average, Madonna seniors who partake in this linkage program graduate from college on average higher and receive higher paying jobs shortly after their graduation. The effects of this program can be felt in every Blue Don who takes them.

(Durante is a senior at Weirton Madonna High School)