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Emotional tribute as end of school year in diocese marked with Mass, luncheon

Patti Simmons hugs Father Kyle Lucas after the chaplain's emotional tribute to her husband, Randy Simmons, who was honored posthumously as the 2019 Distinguished Principal of the Year. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

When it comes to leaving a legacy, perhaps there is none better than “to let Jesus Christ be known and loved,” and that’s how the principals and pastors of schools around the Diocese of Peoria remembered a dear friend and colleague gone too soon. “I think Randy Simmons’ legacy is that you go to Peoria […]

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Diocese’s ‘distinguished’ educators of year surprised, humbled by recognition

Receiving recognition from the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools for 2018-2019 are, from left: Msgr. Brian Brownsey, pastor of St. Mark Parish in Peoria, Distinguished School Pastor of the Year; Eileen Lohr, longtime kindergarten teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School, Peoria, Distinguished Teacher of the Year; and Randy Simmons, principal of Peoria Notre Dame High School, Distinguished Principal of the Year.

“Distinguished” isn’t a title that sits easily with the pastor, principal and teacher being honored by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools. In fact, each admitted to being surprised by the honor, which was announced in late December. “I’m humbled by it,” said Randy Simmons, who was named Distinguished Principal of the Year. He leads […]

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For Distinguished Teacher of the Year Eileen Lohr, ‘it’s a job, but it’s fun’

Surrounded by her kindergarten class at St. Vincent de Paul School in Peoria, Eileen Lohr said the key to working with them is helping them believe they can do anything, in small steps. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

When Eileen Lohr was first approached to teach kindergarten at St. Vincent de Paul School in Peoria, she was inclined to decline. “I had never taught kindergarten,” she told The Post. “I did a lot of volunteering and summer camps, but not kindergarten. I didn’t know if I could do it.” That was 21 years […]

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