Peoria Notre Dame High School

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Peoria Notre Dame High School
Peoria Notre Dame High School logo.png
5105 North Sheridan Road


United States
Coordinates40°44′58″N 89°36′15″W / 40.74944°N 89.60417°W / 40.74944; -89.60417Coordinates: 40°44′58″N 89°36′15″W / 40.74944°N 89.60417°W / 40.74944; -89.60417
TypePrivate, Parochial, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1863 (Academy of Our Lady)
1899 (Spalding Institute)
1964 (Bergan High School)
Opened1988 (merger)
OversightDiocese of Peoria
SuperintendentDr. Sharon Weiss[1]
PrincipalSister Sara Kowal, SCTJM
ChaplainFather Corey Krengiel
Enrollment759[1] (2018–19)
Average class size19[1]
Color(s)     Blue
     Kelly Green (trim)
Athletics conferenceBig Twelve Conference
Team nameIrish
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
PublicationGael (literary magazine)
YearbookIrish Odyssey
  • Affiliated Parish Student $7,380[1]
  • Non-Affiliated Student $11,020[1]

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, most of the students graduating in recent years went on to college.[3][unreliable source?] The school uses an academy system[clarification needed] with a trustee committee, oversight board, pastor's board, president, and principal.


Peoria Notre Dame school traces its roots back to 1863, when Father Abram Ryan and seven Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded a parochial school to educate young catholic women in Peoria that would become Academy of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, known usually by the shorter name, Academy of Our Lady. A school for boys would later be established in 1899 and be called Spalding Institute, named for John Lancaster Spalding, the first bishop of the Peoria. The two schools were located across the street from each other and existed as separate schools with separate classes until 1973 when the administrations were merged into Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute.[4] The former buildings of the Academy/Spalding campus are contributing properties of the North Side Historic District, located just north of downtown Peoria across Interstate 74.

Bergan High School was established in 1964 in what was then north Peoria near the intersection of Sheridan Road and Glen Avenue. The school was named for Gerald Thomas Bergan, a graduate of Spalding Institute who was serving as Archbishop of Omaha. The school was established as co-ed (though classes were taught segregated by sex), contrary to Spalding and Academy which were separate at the time.[5]

In 1988, Bergan's enrollment had declined to 587 and the diocese, under the direction of Bishop Edward O'Rourke, decided to consolidate the two schools to form Peoria Notre Dame High School. The new school would use Bergan's campus but keep Spalding's mascot as the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame's boy's basketball team used the gymnasium on the former Spalding campus north of downtown Peoria until the 2005-2006 school year. The final game on February 24, 2006 saw over 2,000 people pack into the gym to watch Notre Dame play Peoria-Manual.[6]

The former Spalding Institute, now the Spalding Pastoral Center.

Proposed new campus[edit]

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.[7] 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. In 2018, the school scaled back the proposed plan to build a new school and complete athletic facilities for a much smaller plan to construct practice fields for the football and soccer teams and an accompanying parking lot. The school made those plans after funding for the project dried up.[8]


Beginning in the 2010–2011 school year many changes were implemented. 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.[according to whom?] 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.[9]

The school held its first snow day Internet class, an economics class taught by principal Charlie Roy, in January 2010.[10]


Peoria Notre Dame sponsors both boys and girls sports which compete under the nickname of the "Fighting Irish". Their colors are blue, white and kelly green. The Irish, along with Peoria's public high schools, have competed in the Big Twelve Conference since 2014. They were previously in the Mid-State 6 Conference.[11] The school has a long-standing rivalry with Richwoods High School which is located just a mile and half away from Peoria Notre Dame's campus and shares much of the same geographic territory where Notre Dame draws its students from on Peoria's north side.

State Championships[12]
Sport Class School year(s)
Boys Cross country 1A 1980-81*, 1981-82*
Girls Cross country 2A 2010-11
Boys Soccer 2A 2004-05, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13
Boys Golf 2A 2019-20
Girls Track & field 1A 1980-81*, 1981-82*, 1982-83*


Peoria Notre Dame introduced the house system, which is traditionally used in British and Commonwealth schools, in 2010. Students are randomly assigned to one of the six houses, which are named after prominent figures in the Catholic church or school history. Each house has approximately 150 students and is a blend of students from all years.


Notable alumni[edit]

Academy of our Lady/Spalding Institute[edit]

Bergan High School[edit]

Peoria Notre Dame High School[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "School Report Card". Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  2. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  3. ^ Notre Dame High School website: Quick Facts. Retrieved 2010-11-20 Archived 2010-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Peoria Academy of Our Lady". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  5. ^ "Peoria Bergan High School "Trojans"". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  6. ^ "The Peoria Spalding Fighting Irish"". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  7. ^ Notre Dame aims to build anew. Peoria Journal Star, 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  8. ^ Vlahos, Nick. "Nick in the AM: No school, but Notre Dame wants to build athletics fields at new site". Journal Star. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  9. ^ Notre Dame looks to high-tech future. Peoria Journal Star, 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  10. ^ Haney, Dave (January 8, 2010). "Notre Dame High School holds first live Web class". Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
  11. ^ "Peoria Notre Dame - Official Athletics Website". Peoria Notre Dame. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  12. ^ "IHSA". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  13. ^ House System