PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A West Philadelphia high school is finding creative ways to raise funds to keep its award winning athletic programs afloat.

Father Michael Marrone, the minister for West Catholic High School, has no problem bragging about the accomplishments of his students:

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“We have seven Gates Millenium Scholars that come from West Catholic. We’re the only ones that can say that in the area, let alone in the country.”

But Marrone says 95 percent of the student body needs financial aid to pay the $7,000 per year tuition. He says the school takes money from the sports programs to give more scholarships. This means their award-winning girls track team has to run inside to practice.

“We do well with what we have,” he said. “We have a great, dedicated staff that has decided to stay there. None of them have been forced; they all had opportunities to go somewhere else.”

Marrone says the school has about 365 students, but would be able to double that number if the school had more money. But even with the limitations, Marrone says the school is extremely diverse, with a student body that includes individuals with origins all over the world and with a number of different religious backgrounds.

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“We’re a school of 85% non-Catholic, which is very unique for a Catholic institution. But within that diversity, we have a number of programs for our students.”

To keep the school programs going, Marrone says the school relies heavily on donations and fundraisers.

This year Joe Piscopo, Big Daddy Graham and the Midtown Men, which includes four members of the original Tony award-winning Broadway cast of Jersey Boys, will perform on November 5th.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio

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