OCTOBER 17, 2016 - SPECIAL GOLDEN BURRS NEWSLETTER
On June 16, 2016 Brother Kevin Stanton wrote the following to Frank Adolf:
Dear Frank, Thanks you for the most recent edition of your '58 newsletter. I've always been impressed by the research you and your classmates put into this effort. Which leads me to ask a question. In light of your interest in West Catholic history, I'm wondering if you and one or two of your cohorts would be interested in helping out on a small project related to our 100th.
We would like to put together a slide show for our Communion Breakfast in October that would run in looping fashion, without commentary, during the breakfast segment that day. The slide show might run for about 15-20 minutes and would include images from WC Boys, WC Girls and WCHS. We would like to organize it in decades, getting about 100-150 of the best images we can from the Boys' School from the 20s through the 80s. If you would be able to take on that task in the near future, we could provide the yearbooks from that era, as well as the necessary scanning devices. I think the kind of expertise you and your associates have
shown in your newsletter would enable you to manage such a task very well.
I would appreciate any consideration you can give to this request. Let me know if you have any questions.
Rich Buzza and Jim Lynch joined me in this effort and over a period of four visits to West Catholic Prep pictures from the yearbooks were selected and photographed for use during the presentation on October 16. Editing and labeling of each pictures took another three weeks and a flash-drive containing the final results was presented to Brother Kevin on August 1st.
This special newsletter is dedicated to the memories of the Boys' School covering the years from 1916 to the merger with the Girls' School in 1989. Because of email constraints the total number of pictures are less than the total selected for the Centennial project, but included in this newsletter are extra pictures from the early days that did not fit the criteria of a quick slide presentation, and from the class of 1958 that in fairness to the other West classes could not be included in the presentation.
For those who could not be at the Centennial Luncheon, Rich, Jim and I hope you enjoy this special remembrance of our own
"WEST CATHOLIC HIGH".
Acknowledgment - Unless otherwise noted, all pictures were copied from the West Catholic Blue and White Yearbooks for the years 1920 to 1989 or from the West Catholic Prep Website. In creating the Distinguished Alumni Collage several websites were visited to obtain the pictures.
CELEBRATING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF
"THE WEST PHILADELPHIA CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL FOR BOYS"
Around 1915-16, Auxiliary Bishop John J. McCort, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows parish, clearly saw the need for a second Catholic Boys High School that would service students from West and Southwest Philadelphia. At that time Roman Catholic High School, located at Broad and Vine Streets in Philadelphia, was the only Catholic Boys High School, but it was too far distant to be considered for the secondary education of the growing numbers of teenage Catholics who were members of parishes in the western areas of Philadelphia. Catholic Girls High School founded in 1911, later to be known as John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School, was the only Girls High School.
At Bishop McCort's urging, and with the support of the pastors of other local parishes, Archbishop Prendergast approved the purchase of land in West Philadelphia at 49th and Chestnut Streets at a cost of $47,000 for the purpose of erecting a Boys Catholic High School to be known as "The West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys". Planning for a second Girls High School would followed in the mid-1920's resulting in the opening in 1927 of "The West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls".
The Catholic Order of the Society of Mary (Marianists) were chosen to administer the new school and served in that capacity from 1916 to 1926. The first principal was the Rev. Walter C. Tredtin S.M., shown at top left in the "Pioneers" picture below, with Bishop McCort in the center. The others pictured are Society of Mary Brothers who taught at West.
October 13, 1917 - Below "The Evening Public Ledger" reported that Archbishop Prendergast, assisted by Auxiliary Bishop McCort and the former Superintendent of parochial schools Bishop McDevitt of Harrisburg, would officiate at the dedication of West Catholic Boys'.
Courtesy of Gerry Vernot
The new Catholic High School, at a cost of $300,000, was a monument to the initiative and enterprise of the pastors and parishioners of the West and Southwest Philadelphia Catholic parishes. The building was constructed of greystone with limestone trimmings and was four stories in height, containing twenty-four classrooms, and a large assembly room. The Ledger reported that classes in the new school were expected to begin on November 1, 1917.
1917 - The New West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys
Courtesy of Gerry Vernot
1919 - Awarding the first West Catholic Monograms
1920 - 1929
From the beginning sports were a very important extra-curricular activity at West Catholic.
Pictured below are three early sports teams.
1923-24 - An ever increasing enrollment required construction of an "Annex" for West Catholic.
The Annex had connecting corridors to the Main school building from the basement, first and second floors and a large Auditorium and Gymnasium.
Courtesy of Frank Adolf
1924 - School Spirit brought to you by the West Catholic Brass Band
June 1926 - The Brothers of the Christian Schools were asked to replace the Marianists as administrators and teachers at West Catholic Boys.
1929 - The Swim Team won its first National interscholastic championship.
1930 - 1939
1930 - The School's Dramatics Club produced plays supported by an "All Male Cast" for the entertainment of students, faculty and parents.
1933 - West Catholic Boys Football Team won the Catholic League and City Championships.
1940 - 1949
1941 - West Catholic's 25th Anniversary Year
Football Coach Bob Dougherty
Forty- two consecutive wins
and six championships
Coach Morgan accepts Championship trophy for Cross-Country
1945 - World War II Roll of Honor
1946 - Admiral "Bull" Halsey on Chestnut Street
1946 "Reds" Bagnell
1949 Ernie Beck
1950 - 1959
1958 - Clockwise from bottom center: Herb Magee, Dan Higgins, Charley Howe, Bob Gormley, John Beck,
Dan Bugey, Jack Rogers, Jim Flavin, Jim Lynam, Jim Boyle
Moderators: Brother Gregory and Brother G. John with Coach Jimmy Usilton
1959 Basketball Champs
1960 - 1969
1962 Catholic League Champs
Mr. Edward Murawski - Assistant to the Vice-Principal
1970 - 1979
1980 - 1989
Courtesy of Frank Adolf
1989 - The Christian Brothers, the Servants of IHM, and the Sisters of St. Joseph, and over 1,000 students, merged the Boys and Girls Schools, to become West Philadelphia Catholic High School, where it stands today at 4501 Chestnut St.
WEST CATHOLIC BOYS' SCHOOL SONG
Come and sing a tribute to our own West Catholic High
Loyal sons who love to spread her fame
Let your voices soar up to the endless sky
With the praises of her lustrous name
Swell the chorus as we chant our motto loud and clear
God and country ever is our cry
And we always will remember
Our old Alma Mater dear
Honor to West Catholic High
West Catholic High, West Catholic High
We sing your Praises loud
Your noble name and lasting fame
In accents justly proud
Your colors gay in full display
Your Blue and White we fly
With full applause and lusty rahs
Three cheers West Catholic High
2013 - With an eye toward the future, West Catholic implemented a Strategic Plan to help grow the school and ensure its success in the future.
As part of this strategic plan West Catholic High School officially became
THE WEST CATHOLIC PREPARATORY HIGH SCHOOL.
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