Principal discusses Madonna experiences

WEIRTON – Steve Grasser saw coming to Weirton as a good opportunity when he was hired as principal of Weirton Madonna High School last year.

Grasser, who has 27 years of experience in Catholic education, was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be at Madonna,” he said, noting people had asked him why he would choose to come to Weirton when he moved from the St. Louis area last summer.

He explained one of the main goals at Weirton Madonna High School are to prepare students for college and future careers, while educating them within a Catholic value system.

“Every minute of every day, that’s what I try to do,” he said, noting the school has had a 100 percent graduation rate in the last two years, with 100 percent of graduating seniors also attending college.

Among the biggest reasons for success at the high school, he said, are the teachers and staff who are always looking for ways to improve themselves and what they can offer the students.

Grasser noted the education field is constantly changing as new methods and philosophies are developed to foster learning.

“I have a faculty that is open to those changes,” Grasser said. “They are not standing still.”

The principal called the high involvement of the students’ parents as being “critical” for the future of the school, saying a majority of parents are involved in the education process.

He noted he often hears from parents and appreciates them bringing their concerns to his attention.

Grasser said the student body itself also plays a big role in the success at Madonna, as students bring their own ideas for activities at the school, especially in the areas of extracurricular programs and community involvement.

The principal discussed some of the programs available to the 180 students at Madonna, including a college preparatory program offered in cooperation with Wheeling Jesuit University.

Grasser also noted he has had numerous conversations with former Madonna Principal John Mihalyo, as he has sought to learn more about the school and community.

The Rotary Club of Weirton Heights meets each Tuesday at Eat ‘n Park on Three Springs Drive.

(Howell can be contacted at, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT.)