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Safety assessments coming to diocesan schools for emergency preparedness

During a recent drill, the 19 students in Kathy Mazander's class at St. Mary School in Kickapoo were quietly huddled behind a desk with the lights off and the door locked within seconds. They didn't respond, even when principal Rick Pantages knocked on the door and rattled the handle. That's the goal, he said. In addition, reflective film has been placed on all the windows, so a potential intruder would not be able to look into the classrooms from the outside. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Every Catholic school in the Diocese of Peoria is expected to have an emergency preparedness plan in place and hold drills for a variety of situations, including if there is an active assailant in the building, tornadoes, fires, and even earthquakes. To make certain the schools have everything they need, consultants have been hired to […]

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‘Blessing bags’ help Metamora students enter into Year of Mercy spirit

Joyce Heiple of St. Mary School in Metamora guides Ben Cronkhite and Anna Schmitz is assembling "blessing bags" of bottled water, socks, snacks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and an apple for the people served at Sophia's Kitchen in Peoria. The "blessing bags" were delivered by the eighth-graders at the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

METAMORA — What words would you use to describe “mercy” to a child? “I told them when I think of mercy I think of love, caring, kindness, forgiveness. Those are words they can understand,” said Joyce Heiple, the second grade teacher at St. Mary School in Metamora. It was important for them to understand that […]

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Alleman’s Lynn VanDeHeede is diocese’s Distinguished Teacher for 2015-2016

Lynn VanDeHeede meets with seniors Ally Zahringer, Rachel Elliott and Kyler Yodts to plan an activity at Alleman High School in Rock Island. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

  ROCK ISLAND — Counseling at Alleman High School changed when Lynn VanDeHeede became the director of the department 11 years ago. A teacher who enjoyed her time in the classroom, she didn’t want to be isolated from the students or see them only when something got serious enough to require intervention. With Kathy Miller […]

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Meet Fr. Stephen Willard, the diocese’s Distinguished School Pastor for 2015-16

Father Stephen Willard prays with a class at St. Patrick School in Washington. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

WASHINGTON — If Father Stephen Willard had his way, every child would receive a Catholic school education, and ability to pay should not be an obstacle, according to the Diocese of Peoria’s Distinguished School Pastor for 2015-16. “People are very generous in the parishes. We have tuition assistance funds. Sometimes it might be difficult, but […]

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