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; -75.21167
TypePrivate, Coeducational
MottoUnited in Faith, Loyalty, Knowledge
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St. John Baptiste de la Salle
OversightArchdiocese of Philadelphia
PresidentAndrew Brady
DeanMessiah Reames
PrincipalMichael Field
Enrollment427 (2019-2020)
Education systemArchdioceses of Philadelphia
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Blue White and Gold    
Compete Create Lead Go West
Athletics conferencePhiladelphia Catholic League
SportsFootball, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Girls Volleyball
Team nameBurrs
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
School fees$1,100
Admissions DirectorDominique Fuller-Finley
Director of Student LifeDeanna Handy
Director of Campus MinistryKelly Foley

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 2012, there was a proposal to close the school.[3]

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; a school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and receptive learning; professional community; leadership and educational vitality; school, family, community partnerships and many indicators of success, The Blue Ribbon School's Program (in affiliation with the United States Department of Education) has awarded West Catholic the prestigious 'Blue Ribbon School of Excellence'. An Honor of Pride and Esteem achieved 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

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:


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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:

Football championship history

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:

State AA Champion 2010


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

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.

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (May 2018)

Student body

There are 427 students attending West Catholic:[8]



  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ "History." West Philadelphia Catholic High School. November 2, 2004.
  3. ^ Bayliss, Kelly (2012-01-06). "44 Catholic Elementary Schools, 4 High Schools Closing". NBC Philadelphia. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  4. ^ "Nia Ali Bio - University of Southern California Official Athletic Site". 10 March 2014. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  5. ^ "West Catholic, Roman Win," Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 6, 1947; p. 22.
  6. ^ Tornoe, Rob. "Longtime WIP host Big Daddy Graham dies at 68", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 9, 2021. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Mr. Graham was born and raised in Southwest Philadelphia and graduated from West Catholic High School."
  7. ^ Steinfels, Peter (4 May 2000). "Death of a Cardinal; CardinalL O'Connor, 80, Dies; Forceful Voice for Vatican". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  8. ^ (current as of the 2016-2017 academic year)
  9. ^ (Source West Catholic, 2016-2017)

Further reading