With the excitement and activity of the fall season upon us all, I want to start by hoping you all had a wonderful summer full of family and fun. The Colistra family—Colleen, Ryan (6), and Luca (4)—decided to escape the humidity and headed north to Cape Cod where we swam amongst seals, shucked a few Wellfleet oysters, and unsuccessfully attempted a family paddleboard ride. Of course, we spent some time on the much more familiar shores of Sea Isle City where my son sported a West Catholic football helmet each day and my beach days often turned into work days with the number of our alums on the same beaches.
The school year ahead is very much focused on academic innovation. With enrollment healthy and where we want it to be right now and fundraising trending positively, we must relentlessly pursue academic excellence. Principal Kelly Lanza and her academic leadership team are the finest in Philadelphia. They are leading an innovative academic initiative which is centered on a schedule change that will transform the way we deliver education to our students. I give much credit to our faculty, many of whom are being asked to teach in a brand new model mid-career, but who appreciate that this is what is right for our students. I believe this academic initiative is the final piece to the latest school transformation that began in 2012.
Without your financial support to help us make short and long-term investments into our high school, we could not deliver the high-quality academic program that we do. For the first time in over a decade, West Catholic Prep was able to end the 2017-18 year with a significant financial surplus—fundraising success and operational controls have been key to achieving this.
I want to thank Steve Tulli ’84 for his steady leadership of our Board of Directors for the past four years. Steve brought a very common sense approach to the Board, and together we have accomplished many great things during his tenure. Taking over as board chair is Jessica Wolf Dasher, whose enthusiasm, organization, and commitment to this school’s success will prove pivotal over the next few years.
I have saved the best for last—I’m the proudest president in Philadelphia to be able to announce to you all that we will be welcoming the Christian Brothers back to West Catholic Prep in full and part-time roles during the 2018-2019 school year. Not one, not two… but FOUR. More than continuing the Christian Brothers / West Catholic legacy, this sign of trust and confidence the Christian Brothers have placed in our school provides a major boost to all of us who are on the ground each day. It hopefully does the same for all of you.
I encourage you to be supportive of your school in whatever way that might mean for you. Fly a WC flag, go to a football game, tell a friend to consider us for their son or daughter, or make a contribution to the Invest in West fund. Your support of our school provides those in the building the energy and inspiration to educate the youth of Philadelphia.