In the Summer of 1962, Madonna High School was in need of a social studies teacher and Bill Barrett was in need of a job. “I received a letter from Principal Sister Adelaide William. My name was given to her by someone at the College of Steubenville who recommended me. They were looking for a social studies teacher,” Bill Barrett said when he was asked how his tenure at Madonna High School began. “She must have sent a letter to the college and they recommended me. I had an interview with Msr. Lee and before I knew it, I was here. That was August of 1962.”
On Saturday, April 21, 2012, Madonna High School will honor Mr. Barrett for his 50 years of service to Madonna with the Bill Barrett 50 Year Anniversary Dinner and Roast at the Weirton Knights of Columbus. “The dinner is a way for the Madonna family to say thank you to a man who has done so much for this school and students,” said Madonna Principal John Mihalyo.
“When you talk about Bill Barrett, anyone who has received an education from Madonna in the last 50 years has probably had him for class. From his time as a teacher, athletic director or any of the other many roles he has held at Madonna, everyone has been impacted because of Bill Barrett. This is a wonderful event to honor him.”
Mihalyo noted a Student Marketing Team consisting of Madonna students has been putting together interviews with Mr. Barrett and memories from former students and friends through the school’s social media and networking sites.“Our Junior Marketing Team has done a wonderful job of capturing memories from Mr. B and others as well. They have more interviews and stories which will put posted to our YouTube Channel and Facebook pages, as well as the school’s website,” said Mihalyo.
“We wanted to give alumni from all over the world the opportunity to be part of this event and the internet has allowed us to really do this. Our marketing team of students has done a wonderful job with this.” For more information about the event, Madonna encourages people to visit their YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/WeirtonMadonnaSchool
, follow the school on their Official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/weirtonmadonnabluedons
or on their Twitter page @MadonnaBlueDons. “These pages and feeds are updated daily by our students to keep people informed about events such as this,” said Mihalyo.
Current Madonna students are happy to hear of the dinner for Mr. Barrett as well.
“Mr. B’s class is fun and exciting. I never thought history could be so much fun and interesting,” said Madonna freshman Cameron Dowiak who has Mr. Barrett for class this year. “He has a way of lecturing and it’s fun. You learn so much about history from Presidents to current events. It’s just fun.”
Advancement Director Joe Edmiston pointed out just how great the impact of Barrett has been on the Madonna alumni. “I think every single time I give someone a tour or an alumni visits the building, they want to see where their locker was and visit Mr. Barrett’s room. What is incredible about Bill is he takes one look at the person and remembers their name, year of graduation and who they hung around with. That is a pretty special person who can do this.”
Barrett’s time at Madonna includes in some cases teaching three generations of some families. “Overall it’s been a great time. I started here when I was 25 years old and my first students are now 64 years old. When I look at them and look in the mirror, I realize just how long I have been here.”When asked about his fondest memories of Madonna High School, Barrett just smiles. “A priest friend told me if you have more good days in a job than bad, then it’s been a pretty good job for you. And I look at it that way.”
The doors will open for the event at 5:00 pm. Tickets are $25 each and includes admission to the event as well as dinner. Tickets must be purchased in advance from Madonna High School at 304-723-0545, St. Joseph Grade School at 304-723-1970 or St. Paul Grade School at 304-745-5225. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Walter Wieloh Scholarship Fund at Madonna High School.