History

West Catholic has grown and evolved for 100 years, passing many milestones and forging traditions along the way.

The West Catholic story, from its inception in the early part of the twentieth century, is essentially a story of two Philadelphia Catholic high schools. Over the better part of one hundred years, their histories would unfold side by side before eventually merging. Located just four blocks from each other, West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys and West Catholic Girls’ High School, would flourish, providing secondary education for thousands of students coming from parochial schools within its geographical boundaries. In those early years, the brothers and sisters formed the great majority of their respective faculty, but laymen and women were gradually integrated into the education mission. Together, they would lay foundations for two great traditions, graduating young men and women who would go on to higher education, enlist in the armed service, or be eagerly sought after by local employers.

Throughout their history, both schools would serve as a beacon for quality Catholic Education, and at their peak, enrolled 6,000 total graduates. In the 70s and 80s, as Catholic School enrollment began to decline city wide a merger of the boys and girls into a single co-educational program was announced. It would be known as West Philadelphia Catholic High School.

In 2012 Brother Richard Kestler, a Former President and Principal returned to West Catholic.  Paul Colistra also arrived with Brother Richard as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement.  Paul, Brother Richard, and longtime Principal Sr. Mary Bur began to lead the school turnaround effort.  The Board of Trustees felt that a modification of the school name would help market the schools turnaround while also communicating an important message to its stakeholders and broader community. As a result, the Archdiocese authorized transforming the school’s name to West Catholic Preparatory High School. Upon Brother Richards retirement in June of 2016, Paul Colistra, was appointed school President.  Paul is the first lay President in the schools history.  Since 2012 the school has raised almost $21,000,000, nearly doubled school enrollment, and has seen the graduating classes of 2017 and 2018 receive 100% college acceptance, and received a combined $27,000,000 in college academic scholarships.

 

West Catholic Timeline