By Diana L. Chapman
Mario Danelo beat the odds in the world of football drama.
It was there, Mario met with success – and became USC's best kicker – a prominent player who befriended hundreds and “would light up a room” when he walked in.
The hope by those involved in the event is that students will always remember that despite the odds, hard work can lead to extreme success – but more than that, they want students to remember to watch out and take care of each other and to remember that they are not invincible.
The beautiful ruby, golden, cobalt-blue mural – took Mike days to paint. He undertook the endeavor at the behest of USC's requests from Don Winston, associate athletic director, and Mike Garrett, the college's athletic director.
That accidental meeting brought this entire event to fruition, when Shawn – a CIF and NCCA coach, told the artist he could help clear the bureaucratic path and work with the many contacts he had to make the event a reality.
“My wife called me and told me to pull over to the side of the road,” recalled Shawn, who lives in Torrance. “I cried. It was horrible. That kid could light up a room. He was a kid that all of San Pedro could be proud of.’
But since this partnering, not just the USC scholarship was established. Another scholarship grew out of the partnership sparked by that coincidental combination of the artist and Shawn meeting. A San Pedro High School assistant principal had asked Shawn if they couldn’t do something for the high school students too.