We know that the Madonna High School athletic program offered the sports of Basketball, Cross-Country, and Volleyball. It is possible that other sports such as softball and track were offered as well. This information is needed. Also needed are the coach’s names and team records of Madonna High School.
The ladies of the hardwood court faired well in this sport. The teams of 1987-88 and 1995-96 both won Regional titles in the IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Basketball Tournament. School records and coach’s names of these and other great Madonna HS teams are needed.
1987-88AA Regional Champions
1995-96AA Regional Champions
One harrier carried the torch for the Madonna High School Cross-Country program. Melissa Matthews earned an EIGHTH Place medal at the IHSA State Cross Country Meet in the 1996-97 season!
1996-97 Melissa Matthews 8TH Place
The netters of 1988-89 brought home some IHSA hardware. This team won the school’s second of three Regional Titles during the 1988-89 season!
1988-89AA Regional Champions
**From Mary Hafner (Former Teacher and Athletic Director):
“I was a teacher, athletic director and coach, and administrator for 1970 to 1996 and I think I could probably share some information about the athletics and some other innovative programs with you should you wish to go any farther with the article.
Madonna was named a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education–the year ???, this is a huge honor for a school to this day.
Here are a few things off the top of my head…Athletics-wise–Basketball, volleyball, softball, track and field, bowling, gymnastics, tennis, cross country were all included–often on the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen levels. Madonna was a member of the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference which they joined in 1975 and continued active participation to the end. Between 75 and 96 there were IHSA regional titles in both basketball (maybe 2) and volleyball (1) in addition to consistent high finishes in numerous sports in various divisions of GCAC. Prior to that time, Madonna participated in CYO for volleyball and AAU basketball. They won city titles in the early 70s. During that time, the mayor’s office often held tournaments in volleyball, basketball and track. Madonna won the city track championship in 1975. There are a number of premier athletes from Madonna:
—Mary McGrath ’70 played on the Pan American Volleyball team,
—Jeannette Hauser Pancratz ’71 attended DePaul, coached gymnastics and volleyball at Resurrection HS, and continues to coach at Schaumburg HS and is one of the winningest coaches in IHSA,
—Carol Lukaszewicz ’79 played four sports and was a GCAC champion in tennis,
—Renee Duckman ’85 played three sports and attended Northwestern University on a full volleyball scholarship,
—Shelly Pease ’88 (an athlete in volleyball, gymnastics, and track) attended Jacksonville University on a volleyball scholarship and went on to coach state championship level teams in the state of Virginia.
–Her sister Wendy Pease ’81 was the first state finalist from Madonna in any sport. She ran in the 1980 and 81 state finals in the 100 Meter Hurdles. Not bad for learning the sport in the parking lot!
–Another three sport athlete, Karen Krzeminski ran in the 1986 state finals in the 400 Meter event.
—Beth Miller ’89, attended Carolina Coastal University on a volleyball scholarship.
—Bernadette LaRocco ’77 played softball for the University of Illinois at Chicago.
—Dr. Carla Knorowski ’77 also played softball for the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a former administrator of UIC, Northeastern Illinois University and is the current CEO of the Lincoln Foundation in Springfield (I may not have the exact name of that).
—Terri Sullivan ’88, a three sport athlete in volleyball, basketball, and softball, attended Loyola University on a softball scholarship and proved to be an outstanding college player. She coached at UIC and was named as the first coach of the the University of Illinois (Champaign) softball program. As the first and only Illini coach, she built the program into a Big Ten and national powerhouse. She has done this for about 10 years and continues at Illinois at the current time.
As you can see, there is so much history and your account scratches the surface. I am currently a school principal so it is not possible to drop everything to piece together who coached what and when and what was the record. I would be glad to help you out if possible. I can be reached via email at MaryHaf@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Another graduate: Nancy Schuster Waites ’71 currently a judge in Lake County.She is a DePaul graduate and taught history at Resurrection and Madonna prior to obtaining her law degree. There are so many teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers and other professionals who came through Madonna and received a well-rounded academic program allowing them to pursue the careers of their choice.
If you want to know about the hey day of high schools, the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference was founded in 1974 when 11 schools wanted to provide competition for girls after the passing of Title IX. At its hey day, the GCAC organized activities for 38 schools.
Good luck with your undertaking.”
**From Lori C Fontechia (Waz):
“I attended Madonna from 1965-1969; it was the best school high school for girls in the area. At least in my opinion. You began your academic career in the Freshman building ; I had Sister Lucretia for homeroom. Sister Hugoline was our principal. Always remember when walking the halls from class to class if you met one of the sisters you had to make sure you said; Blessed Be Jesus Christ; Good /Afternoon Sister. Running from the Freshman building to the new building; first time over the walk way ; you didn’t want to look down. You had those 5 min to make it to class and you better be on time; especially if you had Sister Alvernia for biology.
I remember my senior year of having Sister Kingnetta for homeroom; she was the greatest; what a sense of humor and a passion for her teaching and understanding what it was like to be 17 in that time era.
I was sad to see Madonna close; so many great memories and so many happy times were spent there. In reading over what some of the uniforms were like in later years; we did well. Our freshman and sophomore uniform was an A-line skirt in dark navy and a vest with a white long sleeve blouse. Peter pan collar of course. Senior year was the same style but in a light shade of blue.
Sister Dorothy and her drama club; we all would go to the try outs in hope of making it to the stage for at least one play. I was lucky to be in one ; The King and I. And our debutante balls with our Dads is a memory that will be with me forever.
To all my fellow classmates from the graduating year of 1969; I wish you all peace and joy. Go Madonna!”
**From Yolie Pauda:
“I went to Madonna High School in 1985. Although I only went for half a year (tuition was too expensive for my dad after losing his job), I had loads of fun! I remember having to sell those $20.00 calendars for a raffle. I also remember the uniforms:
Freshman: Wine colored sweater with dark grey and wine plaid skirt.
Sophomore: Rust orange sweater with brown and orange plaid skirt.
Junior: Dark grey sweater with dark grey plaid skirt.
Senior: Baby blue sweater with baby blue and grey skirt.”
**From Jeanne (Mangelsdorf) Doherty (Class of 1973):
“During my time there, the old building was connected to the new building with a long indoors overpass. The nuns that taught there and some retired nuns also resided in the upper floors of the old building. There were a couple of tennis courts on the grounds of the old building – they were usable but not really taken care of well. The old building was where the closed down Jewel Food store is now.”
**From Rosalinda Quintana:
“That old building was called the “Freshman Building” and I gotta tell ya, it was great! It had so many nooks and crannies for uks to talk to each other about whatever! We were the last freshmen class there, the class of 1976. I gotta tell you a secret, on the top floor was where the nuns slept. The big cross where whoever slept (maybe Sister Joseph!!!). I paid good money to see that!! Does anyone else remember??”
**From Monica Orchard (Class of 1991)
“I attended Madonna 1987-1991. Mr.Richard Bania coached track and field those years and I think freshman volley ball. Mrs. MacNamara coached gymnastics.”
Two of Madonna’s former students are actresses Marilu Henner (from Taxi and Evening Shade) and Mary Gross (formerly of Saturday Night Live–her brother is Michael Gross, who was the father in the ’80’s sitcom, Family Ties which starred Michael J. Fox).
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