Peoria Notre Dame High School
|Peoria Notre Dame High School|
|5105 North Sheridan Road
Peoria, Illinois, 61614
|Type||Parochial, Catholic, Coeducational high school|
|Established||1988 (1863 roots)|
|School district||Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria|
|President||Monsignor Mark Merdian|
|Principal||Randy Simmons, Interim Principal|
|Chaplain||Father Adam Stimpson|
|Accreditation||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Publication||Gael (literary magazine)|
Peoria Notre Dame High School is a Catholic parochial high school in Peoria, Illinois. It is the largest parochial school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria with approximately 815 students and has a college preparatory curriculum. According to the school, more than 99% of students graduating in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 went on to four year colleges. The school uses an academy system with a trustee committee, oversight board, pastor's board, president, and principal. The school's team name is the "Irish", like the University of Notre Dame, but uses the shamrock as its team symbol.
The school traces its roots back to 1863, when Father Abram Ryan and seven Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded a parochial school in Peoria. Notre Dame was created at the beginning of the 1988–1989 school year by the consolidation of the two Peoria area Catholic high schools, Spalding Institute/Academy of Our Lady (itself from the 1973 consolidation of two schools with histories back to 1836 (the Academy) and 1899 (Spalding)) and Bergan High School (formed in the 1964). The Spalding Institute/Academy of Our Lady facility was closed after the 1988/1989 academic year while the Bergan facility was expanded the summer of 1989, and both schools were consolidated together as Notre Dame at the site of the Bergan high school site.
In 2006, the school's Education Commission, in conjunction with the Peoria Area Pastors' Board and the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, hired The Reid Group of Bellevue, Washington, to develop and conduct a campus location study. In June 2008, it was announced that the Reid Group had advised the Commission to build a new school, an athletic facility/pool, and new sports fields on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus north of the present Peoria Academy near the intersection of Willow Knolls Road and Allen Road in outlying Peoria. The estimated $60 million required would be funded largely through a capital campaign and private donations, the diocese, and potentially other parishes in nearby counties. As of November 2009, no definitive timeline was in place for construction of the new school.
Beginning in the 2010-2011 school year many changes were implemented to enhance the schools academic curriculum. A trimester schedule was implemented,along with house system, and a one to one laptop program. The trimester system lowers the number of students the average teacher sees to around 80 a semester from the usual average of 130-150. Longer class periods enable a more engaged approach to education with more time for labs and project based instruction. Every freshman and sophomore student was required to purchase and use a Macintosh laptop; payments could be spread out over the three or four years until graduation. Peoria Notre Dame High School is the first high school in the state of Illinois to partner with Apple in implementing a one to one laptop environment. More course content, including AP and college-credit courses and computer coursework, will be done on-line and in a dual online/lecture form. More electives will be offered, and the school intends to offer additional dual credit courses using the online format.
In the winter of 2010 the school was the first high school in the country to offer an online learning day in lieu of a typical weather related closure garnering local, regional, and national attention.
The Peoria Notre Dame High School Fighting Irish were the Illinois State Class 2A Champions in men's soccer (2004, 2008, 2010, 2012) and women's cross country at the state finals. Notre Dame's teams are members of the Mid-State 6 Conference.
In 2006, Peoria Notre Dame High School student Ted Ralph organized the student cheering section at sporting events into "The Irish Nation." Through fundraisers and donations by alumni, families, and local businesses, T shirts were made and worn by students sitting in the cheering section. The Irish Nation would then donate all T Shirt profits and additional donations (several thousand dollars per year) to The Children's Hospital of Illinois. In addition, the creation of the Irish Nation reinvigorated school spirit and made sporting events at PND much more lively, with Irish Nation "Green Men" leading in cheers from the bleachers. One such cheer, "Ah La La", is unique to Peoria Notre Dame High School.
The Peoria Notre Dame High School dance team has placed in the top 5 of state dance competitions for the past 7 years. The Peoria Notre Dame High School cheerleaders consistently place in state and local competitions.
The school is known as being a local leader in soccer.
Former teacher Mike Sullivan, a longtime cross country and track coach who taught at Peoria Notre Dame for 39 years, abruptly resigned from his position on February 8, 2014. School officials had no further comment on his departure.
Former principal Charlie Roy left his position at Peoria Notre Dame on February 26, 2014. Roy had been the principal at the school since 2007, when the organization changed to a president-principal combination following a restructuring of the administration by the diocese. Roy sent an email to students on February 27, 2014, informing him that was taking a new position as president of Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, California. The event made the local news, with students expressing displeasure at the sudden departure. Randy Simmons will serve as interim principal until the end of the school year.
- Wayne A. Downing (1940–2007) – General, U.S. Army, namesake of the Peoria International Airport, former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, 1993-1996.
- Joseph E. Girardi – Current manager of the New York Yankees and former Major League Baseball catcher.
- Ray LaHood – Current U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former U.S. Congressman.
- Brian Randle – Former basketball player, University of Illinois, 2003-2007.
- Fulton J. Sheen (1895–1979) – Catholic Archbishop (Titular Archbishop of Newport, Wales; Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester; Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York) and sainthood candidate, former host of The Catholic Hour on radio and the television program Life is Worth Living.
- Quincy Notre Dame High School — so named since 1928; also in Illinois
- Peoria Notre Dame High School - official site
- NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved 2009-07-28.[dead link]
- Notre Dame High School website: Quick Facts. Retrieved 2010-11-20
- Notre Dame aims to build anew. Peoria Journal Star, 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
- Notre Dame looks to high-tech future. Peoria Journal Star, 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
- Duvall, Adam. "Longtime coach Mike Sullivan no longer at Notre Dame". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- Adams, Pam. "Peoria Notre Dame students upset by principal's sudden departure". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- Web page from Peoria Notre Dame denoting the year each of the three former Catholic High Schools were formed.