West Catholic Preparatory High School

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West Catholic Preparatory High School
4501 Chestnut Street

University City


United States
Coordinates39°57′26″N 75°12′42″W / 39.95722°N 75.21167°W / 39.95722; -75.21167Coordinates: 39°57′26″N 75°12′42″W / 39.95722°N 75.21167°W / 39.95722; -75.21167
TypePrivate, Coeducational
MottoUnited in Faith, Loyalty, Knowledge
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St. John Baptiste de la Salle
School districtSchool District of Philadelphia
OversightArchdiocese of Philadelphia
PresidentPaul Colistra
DeanJasmine Williams
PrincipalKelly Lanza
Enrollment420 (2016-2017)
Student to teacher ratio10:1
Education systemArchdioceses of Philadelphia
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Blue White and Gold             
Compete Create Lead Go West
SongWe're a new generation

Born of long tradition Years of dedication To God and education

Faith, knowledge, loyalty we hold Shining in light...blue, white, and gold Our minds, our hearts, our bodies too Grow in this school where dreams come true!

Refrain West Catholic High, West Catholic High We sing your praises clear! We're proud you're alma mater - You're the "best", West Catholic High!

United yet diversified Facing our future side-by-side Growing, learning, moving ahead,

West Catholic, we will not forget!
Athletics conferencePhiladelphia Catholic League
SportsFootball, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Softball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Cross-Country, Volleyball
Team nameBurrs
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
School fees$1,100
TuitionFor the 2016-2017 School Year Approx. $8,150 for Catholics Approx. $8,900 for Non-Catholics
Vice PrincipalCourtney Lemon-Tate
Admissions DirectorWallace Weaver
Director of Student LifeJustin Bangs
Director of Campus MinistryMichael Field

West Catholic Preparatory High School is a co-educational Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 45th and Chestnut Streets, the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia.


The school opened on September 8, 1989, as a result of a merger between West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, opened in 1916, and West Philadelphia Catholic Girls High School, opened in 1927.[2]

When they originally opened, both West Catholic Girls and West Catholic Boys served students from West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia and Delaware County. As more Archdiocesan high schools opened in the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s, West's "feeder schools" became limited to parishes in West and Southwest Philadelphia. With the advent of "open enrollment" for Archdiocesan high schools in the 1990s, West Catholic continued to draw from West and Southwest Philadelphia, and also attracted students from Philadelphia and its suburbs. Currently (2011), approximately 25% of the students come from suburban areas, with the other 75% from across the City of Philadelphia.

In July 2013, the school announced its official name change to West Catholic Preparatory High School, as part of its overall strategic plan.


Based on the school's student focus and support; school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and learning; professional community; leadership and educational vitality; school, family, and community partnerships, and indicators of success the Blue Ribbon Schools program (in affiliation with the United States Department of Education) has awarded West Catholic the prestigious 'Blue Ribbon School of Excellence' recognition several times.

West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the Blue Ribbon Schools program in the academic year of 1983-1984 Co-Educational West Philadelphia Catholic High School was also named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the Blue Ribbon Schools program in the academic years of 1994-1996.

West Catholic graduates have gone on to Swarthmore, NYU, Georgetown, Columbia, Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others. West Catholic graduates earned scholarships such as Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, Gates Millennium Scholarships, Nelson Scholarships, Mayor's Scholarships, and an F.C. Haab Science Scholarship.

The Brothers of the Christian Schools[edit]

West Catholic's faculty includes a number of Catholic religious orders, most notably, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers are a Roman Catholic lay religious teaching order, founded by French Priest Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle. De La Salle was a canon of the cathedral and came from a wealthy family. De La Salle's goal was setting up free schools where the children of the working and poor class citizens could learn reading, writing and arithmetic and also receive religious instruction and other training appropriate for forming good Christians.

The Christian Brothers taught at West Catholic Boys beginning in 1926 (succeeding the Brothers of Mary). Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) and the Sisters of St. Joseph (Chestnut Hill) are two of the women's religious teaching orders from West Catholic Girls. In addition to the religious orders, the school's faculty includes a number of lay teachers. The Chaplain is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


As a resident of the University City, West Catholic Preparatory High School has taken advantage of its unique location by establishing a partnership with several Universities in Philadelphia:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Drexel University
  • University of the Sciences of Philadelphia


West Catholic is a member of the Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division, which comprises schools with smaller enrollment. They currently offer the following sports at the varsity level:

  • Girls' Volleyball
  • Football
  • Cheerleading
  • Boys' Basketball
  • Girls' Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Girls' Indoor/Outdoor Track
  • Boys' Indoor/Outdoor Track
  • Cross-Country

Football Championship History[edit]

West Catholic has won several football championships. The following is a listing of the championship wins, the year they were won, and the winning head coach:

  • Tom Tracey- 1925
  • Jocko McGarry- 1932
  • Bob Dougherty- 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944
  • Bill McCoy- 1945, 1946
  • Jack Shields- 1951
  • Vince McAneny- 1962
  • John McAneny- 1965
  • Brian Fluck- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

State AA Champion 2010


West Catholic is currently second in the Catholic League's list of the Most Football Championships Won (behind Saint Joseph's Preparatory School, which holds the title with 15 championships won).[citation needed]


West Catholic has won a number of men's basketball championships:

  • Brother Michael Quinlan- 1921
  • Jocko McGarry- 1931
  • Pat Conway- 1938
  • Joe Langan- 1949
  • Jim Usilton, Jr- 1952, 1953, 1955
  • Bill Ludlow- 1959

In 1971 West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls won the city championship at the Palestra.

In 1974 West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls won the city championship.


West Catholic is currently fourth in the Catholic League's list of Most Basketball Championships Won (with the leader being Roman Catholic High School, which holds the title with 27 basketball championships won).[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]



West Catholic School for Girls was located near the Philadelphia television studios where American Bandstand was first broadcast in the 1950s, and many girls from West regularly attended the show. The girls were forbidden to wear their school uniforms on TV, and wore cardigans over their uniforms, with their blouses' rounded collars showing. "Peter Pan collars" became popular as a result.

Student body[edit]

There were 410 students attending West Catholic:[4]


  • Black - 80%
  • White - 3%
  • Asian - 6%
  • Hispanic - 11%
  • Other


  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ "History." West Philadelphia Catholic High School. November 2, 2004.
  3. ^ "Nia Ali Bio - University of Southern California Official Athletic Site". 10 March 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  4. ^ (current as of the 2016-2017 academic year)
  5. ^ (Source West Catholic, 2016-2017)

External links[edit]