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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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Randy Simmons Memorial 5K Run/Walk on May 25 inspired by late PND principal

PEORIA HEIGHTS — It wasn’t unusual to see Randy Simmons running around town and his friends and Peoria Notre Dame family will honor him by doing the same thing. The inaugural Randy Simmons Memorial 5K Run/Walk is planned for Saturday, May 25, at 6 p.m. It will start and finish at Tower Park, near the […]

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Catholic schools honor memory of one of their own on St. Patrick’s Day

The Peoria Notre Dame Band prepares to step off from the mall in front of the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria on March 17. They led representatives from 11 more Catholic schools in who marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Peoria in honor of principal Randy Simmons, who died Feb. 19. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Catholic schools from the Peoria area and surrounding communities had their own gathering of the clans March 17 as they marched as one behind Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, through the streets of downtown Peoria for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They did it to honor the memory of one of their own — Randy […]

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Bishop appoints Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, as principal of Peoria Notre Dame

Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has appointed Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, to serve as principal of Peoria Notre Dame High School for the remainder of the current academic year. The announcement was made March 6. Sister Sara, who has taught theology and directed campus ministry at the school for seven years, was to have succeeded […]

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#PNDtogether: A grieving community unites in prayer, love, remembrance

In the week between Randy Simmons' Feb. 19 death and Feb. 26 funeral, students at Peoria Notre Dame High School found creative ways to support and encourage one another, and pay tribute to their beloved principal. (Provided photo)

The morning after his death, Randy Simmons was remembered during an all-school Mass at Peoria Notre Dame High School, where he had served as principal for six years. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was the main celebrant for the liturgy and in his homily he called Simmons “a gifted educator” and man of strong faith. […]

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Emotional week as Peoria Notre Dame mourns death of principal Randy Simmons

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, joined the Peoria Notre Dame High School community Feb. 20 to offer a Mass in remembrance of principal Randy Simmons, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 19. Many of the priests from Peoria-area parishes concelebrated and provided spiritual support and comfort to the students after the liturgy. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

After an emotional week for the Peoria Notre Dame High School community, family and friends, principal Randy L. Simmons was laid to rest on Feb. 26. A funeral Mass was offered at St. Philomena Church in Peoria, with Father David Richardson, pastor, as the celebrant and homilist. Several priests, including Father Kyle Lucas, chaplain at […]

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The full text of Bishop Jenky’s homily at Peoria Notre Dame all-school Mass Feb. 20

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, joined the Peoria Notre Dame High School community Feb. 20 to offer a Mass in remembrance of principal Randy Simmons, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 19. Many of the priests from Peoria-area parishes concelebrated and provided spiritual support and comfort to the students after the liturgy. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Peoria Notre Dame High School community gathered Feb. 20 for a rosary and Mass to remember principal Randy Simmons, who died unexpectedly at home the previous day at the age of 61. (See related stories here.) Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was the main celebrant for the all-school Mass, which was offered […]

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Sr. Sara Kowal, SCTJM, named to succeed Randy Simmons at Peoria Notre Dame

Randy Simmons is pictured on Feb. 1 with Father Kyle Lucas, chaplain of Peoria Notre Dame, and Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Catholic Schools Week came to an end at Peoria Notre Dame High School with a new beginning as Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, was welcomed as the new principal. The applause was led by Randy Simmons, the principal at the college preparatory school for the last six years, who will be retiring at the end of […]

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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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Randy Simmons, Distinguished Principal of the Year, shows love and lives faith

Randy Simmons holds an impromptu meeting with John Alwan, Ben Ramsey, Sarah Rashid, Luke Carroll and Quinn Pallardy in his office at Peoria Notre Dame High School. "If you truly love what you do, really not work," he said. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In his “Leadership Development” class at Peoria Notre Dame, Randy Simmons tells the juniors and seniors, “You never have to work a day in your life if you’re passionate about what you do. The money comes and it goes, but if you truly love what you do, it’s really not work.” He speaks from experience. […]

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