PEORIA, Ill., The community took advantage of the warm weather Saturday evening and ran in the Randy Simmons Memorial 5k Race.
“It was challenging you know, three miles in the heat is never easy,” Peoria Notre Dame High School student, Myles Sophanavong said.
Participants ran in the race to honor Randy Simmons, a man who cared so deeply for others.
Simmons was the principal at Notre Dame High School. He was found dead in his home back in February.
Several said they were in shock to hear the news, but heartbroken nonetheless.
“Randy Simmons was more than just the principal at Notre Dame, people knew him and they loved him so this is a great way to celebrate the life that he lived,” event coordinator Jillian Plunkett said.
Soon after his death, students planned the race to not only honor him, but to fulfill one of his goals.
Simmons was an avid runner, hence the race, and also wanted more students to experience the Catholic education at Notre Dame.
All money raised from the race will go to the Randy Simmons Tuition Assistance Fund, so kids can be afforded that opportunity.
“I think we’re all gathered here for a sad reason but in a really happy atmosphere,” Plunkett said.
The students have had their bad days, but are determined to move forward with grace.
“Peoria Notre Dame has had a lot of situations this year that have kind of toughened us, but I’m really excited [to see] how much of a family unit we’ve been this year,” Peoria Notre Dame High School student Caitlin Reid said. “I’ve never seen a community come together so fast and so quick.”
“It’s been tough, but the more we gather and support and pray together the better we will be in the long run,” Myles Sophanavong.