LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Rosemary Simmons

Position: School Nurse
School: Edison Academy
School District: Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools
City, State: Edison, NJ

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Rosemary Simmons was nominated by Marlene Mulroney, Carly Balsamo, and Stephaine Karanevskii

Although Ms. Simmons' job title is school nurse, she does so much more!

Ms. Simmons is the advisor for Interact club. The Middlesex County Academy Interact Club coordinates breast cancer awareness walks and the Talent Show, which raised $1,000 for Toys For Tots. Interact holds lunches to collect money for worthy causes, works with the Edison Rotary to attend events sponsored by the United Nations in New York City, and facilitates clothing drives and drives for personal hygiene products for homeless/women's shelters. Ms. Simmons is the coordinator for the Student of the Month Breakfasts and the Student of the Year Dinner, both sponsored by the Edison Rotary club.

She is also the advisor for Red Cross club. The Red Cross facilitates two blood drives each school year. Ms. Simmons and the students coordinate the donors from her school and Middlesex County College. They hang posters around the school and college campuses, and they arrange for the events to be approved by the MCVTS Board of Education. In addition, the Red Cross Club arranges for food donations to MCFOODS to help feed those in need in Middlesex County. Last year, the club donated one ton of food to MCFOODS. Ms. Simmons helped make this possible with her organization, diligence and hard work.

She is the co-advisor for National Honor Society. NHS is a national organization that selects the best and brightest students in the Junior and Senior class based on their GPA, the number/type of service hours they complete during their high school years, and through teacher feedback. The club facilitates a Group Service Project each year. This year's NHS class advertised and collected approximately $800 for a charity benefiting the victims of the fires in Paradise, CA.

Each student member will also complete/facilitate an Individual Service Project. Some of the projects this year include:

  • cleaning/replanting/maintaining the Peace Garden;
  • holding a lunch fundraiser to raise money for Barnabas Health Foundation;
  • giving a TED talk and donating the proceeds to charity;
  • arranging for donation of products for hospitals and/or homeless shelters, and;
  • winter clothing drives for those in need of winter coats.

Ms. Simmons is the advisor for Safety Ambassadors, who work in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Trauma Center. She and the ambassadors take a pre-assessment and receive training by RWJ Trauma Center on safety in and around cars, helmet and bicycle safety, and safety around streets/traffic/crosswalks. The students go out on four separate days to Lincoln Elementary School and Franklin Elementary School in Edison, NJ to teach the safety lessons to every first grade student. At the close of the Safety Ambassador time frame, students will attend a banquet where they take a post-assessment to show growth in the areas of safety, instruction and presentation skills.

Finally, Ms. Simmons is the Advisor for Girl Up!. Girl Up! was started by the United Nations Foundation. It is a global movement of empowered young women leaders who defend gender equality. Through leadership development training, Girl Up! gives girls the resources and platform to start a movement for social change wherever they are. Ms. Simmons manages the club and and travels to various events held by the United Nations to promote female empowerment. She also arranged for the use of West Hall on the Middlesex County College campus to hold a statewide conference, and she facilitated an assembly so girls could view/participate in the Fearlessly Girl conference.

The one theme that you can focus on with Ms. Simmons is "Service." She gives 100% of herself in many ways and helps the students see the importance of service, both to others and to their community.

"As I pause to recount all my memories of volunteer opportunities, I am astounded with this woman's dedication and persistant involvement." states previous student Stephaine Karanevskii, "I am still dumbfounded at how Ms. Simmons continues to lead our school with this spirit of service. She's always telling me about another fundraiser or volunteer opportunity she has gotten her hands dirty with."



Comments (39)


Karen A. Cretella Posted 2 days ago

I have known Rosemary Simmons for fifteen years as a colleague at the Vocational School. She has always been a resource for me in my dealing with school issues and handling student health concerns. I have always admired her dynamic energy and dedication to her position, she maintains many other duties then just school nursing. I believe she is an asset to our district and would be very happy to see her honored for this wonderful achievement. Best wishes to you Rosemary. You are truly blessed. Sincerely, Karen.

Tim Sexton Posted 3 days ago

As Rosemary's fiancée, I hope to have some insights into her life changing impact upon those fortunate enough to have met this inspiring spirit. Aside from her obvious professional expertise as a long time nurse/school nurse, Rosemary has,on multiple occasions, used her expert diagnostic skills to spot health issues that, if left undetected, would lead to tragic results. For example, during a routine eye examination Rosemary detected an abnormality in one student's results that concerned her. She immediately informed the student's parents that their child needed an immediate doctor's appointment. Later, the ophthalmologist reported that had the student not received prompt treatment blindness would have certainly occurred. In addition, Rosemary has been in the forefront of those advocating for concussion protocals. Students involved in head injuries, no matter how minor, are evaluated promptly and, if necessary, referred to doctors for proper evaluation. Aside from her professional responsibilities, Rosemary advises multiple school clubs that require hours of dedicated service that go far beyond the norm. From waking up at 5 A.M. to attend monthly" student of the month" breakfasts to giving up weekends to take students on field trips to New York or Philadelphia, Rosemary is always there to assist. Many of these clubs raise significant funds for a myriad of charitable organizations. For instance, last year her Interact club raised over 1,000.for Toys for Tots. She has been performing these efforts for years and years. Let's not forget the TWO blood drives her Red Cross club sponsors EVERY year. Her great skill is the ability to motivate her students to step up and take active responsibility for these many endeavors . Every year Rosemary and I participate in charitable walks for anything from breast cancer awareness to Reading is Fundamental. Her students come out because they know she will be there to cheer them on. On a personal note, Rosemary has been by my side for years assisting me in my own charitable efforts. My Shillelagh Club, a NJ based Irish American club, has yearly raised funds for the St. Baldwick's childhood cancer organization. We give up our time to monitor the parking lots and contribute in any way asked. Rosemary never misses an event. She keeps me on my toes and teaches me every day the value of giving .I could go on and on about her accomplishments, the love she has given and received from her students over these many years. I am personally grateful that she has somehow found the time to include me in her world. I am truly blessed to have Rosemary in my life.

Khushi Gandhi Posted 3 days ago

Ms. Simmons truly made my high school experience memorable and her infinite passion for caring for every student in the school is truly admirable. When I think about my times in high school, the time I spent with Ms. Simmons always come to mind- whether that is planning out events for our Interact Club or Girl Up club or just talking to her in her office. Her enthusiasm is infectious and the excitement that she brought everyday to school always cheered me up (no matter how sleep deprived I was). She has changed my life in ways that I can't explain and even after graduating I hope to carry on the lessons that she has taught me.

Susy Silvestri Posted 4 days ago

Rosemary Simmons changes the lives of many in our community and especially among our high school students ! She is a wonderful nurse and cares for our children but she is also a great leader guiding them in leadership roles in several after school clubs. Thanks!

Angela Stoll Posted 4 days ago

Our paths crossed many years ago. We went to nursing school together. I knew at that time she would be a very successful person. She was always smart, kind and considerate. Reading her profile, I am not at all surprised by what she has accomplished. She is so deserving of this award.

Adrija Kundu Posted 4 days ago

Ms. Simmons is a very active member in our school community. She is extremely helpful and kind. Mrs. Simmons is an extremely caring individual who's dedication for community service is truly remarkable.

Navya Sinha Posted 6 days ago

As a freshman, I have only interacted with Mrs. Simmons a couple of times, but every time I did, her cheerful attitude and positive demeanor were present without fail. I could not have asked for a better nurse, and I am thankful for her kindness and compassion. She is not only the school nurse but also helps with several clubs and extracurricular activities. She really is a wonderful role model and mentor, and should definitely win the LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Harini Nippani Posted 7 days ago

Although I haven't known her for a long time, I can tell that she is very dedicated to her job as she always makes sure everyone has the right forms filled and and she is always informed of any medical procedures that may need to be done. She is also a very kindhearted person and I hope she wins!

Bhavini Pandey Posted 7 days ago

I have only met Ms. Simmons a couple of times, but I could feel that she is truly one of the the most welcoming, caring people I've ever met. She's very positive and goes an extra step to look out for her students, and she does so much to help us and our school, which is why I think that she truly deserves this award!

Anuraag Sarkar Posted 7 days ago

I haven't crossed paths with Mrs. Simmons often, but the few times I met her she blew me away with her positive attitude and energy. She is always excited to do a task, and always looks for the best in things. Whenever I need any help, I know that I can trust Mrs. Simmons.

Isha Surjuse Posted 8 days ago

Although I have just joined the Academy as a freshman and have only met Mrs. Simmons once, her positive attitude and passion immediately stood out to me. I've heard so much about the role that she plays in community service organizations, as well as the opportunities she provides for the student body. It's clear that she only wishes for our success, along with the happiness of those who are less fortunate. All in all, Mrs. Simmons definitely the most caring, most generous person I know, not to mention an incredibly hard worker. She is a role model for many, and someone who doesn't hesitate to make a difference. And although her current title is the school nurse, it is clear that "Life Changer of the Year" is far more accurate.

Varija Mehta Posted 8 days ago

Ms. Simmons contributes instrumentally to the Academy. Every day, she contributes each student with a smile and she inspires each student to be positive. I am extremely grateful to have Ms. Simmons as the school nurse and a mentor! :)

Sean Wang Posted 16 days ago

Throughout my 3 years at the Academy, Ms. Simmons has consistently shown her focus on service and has demonstrated how much she cares for all of the students. As a school nurse, Ms. Simmons is there when you need an icepack, a cough drop, or when you need someone to talk to. Her kindness, compassion, and school spirit are truly infectious, qualities that I know have touched me as well as my classmates and teachers. Her impact is also indirect as well: at the Academy, she is either the advisor or founder (sometimes even both) of many clubs dedicated to helping others. By leading by example, she has inspired countless students in helping the community and those who are less fortunate. I know when my time at the Academy is over, I will carry on the lessons Ms. Simmons have indirectly instilled.

Ariana Novo Posted 3 months ago

Ms. Simmons is more than a school nurse at the Middlesex County Academy. She is a good friend to many, a strong and passionate person, and a natural-born leader in charge of numerous community service based clubs at school. She has so much enthusiasm and concern for others and will always listen to what you have to say. I think she deserves the title of Life Changer of the Year because she truly has changed my life and those of so many others. Thank you for everything, Ms. Simmons!

Victoria Tang Posted 4 months ago

The Academy would not be the same without Ms. Simmons - she has so much energy, kindness, and enthusiasm for everyone in the community, whether through day-to-day interactions, her position as an advisor for multiple community service programs, or even positive Facebook comments here and there years beyond graduation. I am endlessly grateful for the positive example she has set and the influence she has had on my life, and I know that she has done the same for countless others.

Katrina Posted 4 months ago

Throughout all of my time at the Academy, Ms. Simmons always stood out to me as someone you could go to for comfort or support. I loved working with her through the Red Cross Club and the Safety Ambassadors programs, which truly helped me find a new perspective on helping others in the community. Her dedication to our little high school community always blew me away, and I know that my work with her impacted so much of what I do now, four years after graduating. Ms. Simmons is more than deserving of the LifeChanger Award this year, as I know that she touches the lives of every student and person she meets!

Jason Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Simmons is one of the nicest people I have met at the academy. When I have been around her, she automatically brings a smile to my face and has a comforting aura about her. Ms. Simmons is an integral part here at the Academy, and it is a phenomenal feat that she has been nominated for the Life Changer Award. She is truly one of a kind. Thank you, Ms. Simmons, and hopefully you win the award, because you deserve it!

Aditya Posted 4 months ago

Although I don't see her everyday, Ms. Simmons is one of the most knowledgeable, caring, and respected teachers of MCVTS staff. Despite being the school nurse, Ms. Simmons runs multiple clubs, even though it is not necessary for her to do so, and is responsible for the well - being of over 200 students at all times. She is never shy to lending a hand to anyone in need, and is the advisor for clubs including "Red Cross," showing not just her compassion and caring for the school, but for the community, state, and nation (not to mention her fundraisers for poverty, clean water, and food drives). Ms. Simmons is truly a role model for everyone, and thus, I believe that she should receive the LifeChanger Award this year. Thank you Ms. Simmons for everything you do!

Martha L. Naranjo Ocker Posted 4 months ago

Besides being a leader and educator, Rosemary Simmons is an invaluable friend and individual with numerous positive qualities. I know Rosemary is always available for any person, entity or organization with altruistic intentions.

Regina Simmons Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary has been my sister in law for 33 years. She has more energy than anyone I know. She loves her job and is a living model of going above and beyond her duties! She is involved with the many clubs and organizations that give the kids opportunities they otherwise may not have. She is an inspiration!

Thomas Weatherbee Posted 4 months ago

Although Ms. Simmons is the school nurse and has no obligation to deal with, much less advise, any clubs, she still takes it upon herself to make sure community outreach clubs all throughout the school are able to run. She advises the Safety Ambassador program for our school, which teaches first graders to be safe in their everyday lives, as well as NHS, which is responsible for countless service projects for the betterment of the community. Aside from advising clubs, Ms. Simmons is always there to help and provide her passion for helping others whenever I should need it. There's no doubt that, without Ms. Simmons, the Middlesex County Academy wouldn't be the MCA we students have come to love. For that reason, I think Ms. Simmons is more than deserving of the LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Michelle Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary has outdone herself this year. She is always volunteering for one event or another. I really cannot keep up with all of the events she has coordinated or attended. Her outreach programs are so important to giving our academy students opportunities to lead outside of the STEM field and into the humanities. Without the programs she runs, our students would not have the chance to make an impact on so many lives outside of our school community.

Susy Silvestri Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Simmons wears many hats. She is a nurturing school nurse but also leads and guides high school students with after school clubs, programs and fundraisers. The meaningful fundraisers help individuals, charities, and communities. Ms. Simmons often goes above and beyond for her students. Ms. Simmons deserves to be recognized for her dedication. She deserves to be life changer of the year!

Avaneen Pinninti Posted 4 months ago

Henry Brooks Adam said that "Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops." Although the Academy's beloved Ms. Simmons is not a recognized teacher, she is the definition of this quote. Ever since my freshman year, Ms. Simmons has been a friendly face that has thought me a great deal about community service, involvement, and so much more. This year, as a part of the Safety Ambassador Program, I worked more with Ms. Simmons and I learned that she is dedicated to changing lives and making the world a safer place. I am certain that even after I graduate, I will take Ms. Simmons and her lessons with me.

Kaitlyn Ferreras Posted 4 months ago

Not only is she there when I am in dire need of some aspirins or an ice pack, Ms. Simmons is constantly presenting me with opportunities to volunteer in different events from different clubs I participate in such as interact club and Red Cross; both of which she advises. I can truly say that Ms. Simmons is the most inspirational mentor I have ever had. She truly gives you her undivided attention when you need something and is always there for you no matter the circumstance . She sets a positive example of who I want to be in my future, helping students not only currently in our school, but as well as continuing to reach out to graduated students. A day doesn’t pass that Ms. Simmons doesn’t put a smile on my face. With her hilarious stories and endless support whether about volunteering, clubs, or trips to different events, I would be lying if I didn’t say that Ms. Simmons is more than just a school nurse; she is the most committed, cheerful, and inspirational person I have ever met, who truly cares for each and everyone of us at the Academy. If anyone deserves this life changer of the year award, it definitely, without question, has to be Ms. Simmons. Words can’t explain how grateful I am for somebody like Ms. Simmons to be in my life. I don’t know what I would do without her ??

Aashita Posted 4 months ago

Just the "school nurse" is the last thing anyone would think of when they hear the name Ms. Simmons. Ms. Simmons plays such a monumental role in each and every one of our times at the Academy. Though our school is so focused on academics, she does not let us forget about the importance of helping out in the community and provides the passion we need to change things in the world.

Judith Mansbach Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary Simmons official title is Nurse for Middlesex Academy but she is much more than that to her students. She is the advisor and mentor of the service clubs at the school. In all her roles, Rosemary is a enthusiastic and energetic supporter of the students. She attends all the events she and the students run during the year while doing so with energy, a beautiful smile and encouragement for the students to be the best they can be. She is one of the most giving people I have ever meet and she goes about her day with such good spirit and optimism. Rosemary wants her students to succeed and offers them her guidance and experience for them to do so. Rosemary is exceptional person and gives more than 100% everyday. One can’t help but smile and feel her energy when in her presence and this makes one want to be more engaged and spirited too. Rosemary exemplifies the true meaning of a LifeChanger and deserves the LifeChanger Award.

Yoganand Pathak Posted 4 months ago

Over the past year, I have gotten the opportunity to interact with Ms. Simmons. Being a school nurse, it is natural that Ms. Simmons cares about the people around her and beyond. However, Ms. Simmons demonstrates an almost unbending passion towards helping the students at our school and the community at large. She is constantly pushing us to help the community and she helps us in every way possible. She is probably the most active member of our local Rotary club (at least in my opinion), and always helps the rotary and school's community service pursuits raise money. Furthermore, Ms. Simmons is one of the more confident and cheerful people I know. She can really change someone's life at a personal level and also change many lives in the community at large.

Pranav R Anthapu Posted 4 months ago

Even though I do not meet her many days a week, I know that she is an amazing person. She does so much for the school and the local community. If anyone wants to meet someone who does community service, they should come to Ms. Simmons. As a nurse, she is very nice and respects everyone.

Shreya Ghosh Posted 4 months ago

I’m only a freshman at the middlesex county academy, but I’ve already seen so many examples how good of a person Ms. Simmons is. She organizes and hosts more than half the events that happen at our school, and outside our school- majority which go to charity causes. Not only that, but she balances these responsibilities so well with her own job of being a nurse. Even though she is so busy fundraising or planning, she is also there for us students when we need her. Also, Ms. Simmons goes out of her way to do nice things for other people. On her birthday, she went around giving other teachers cake to enjoy. In fact- I was in class today, and Ms. Simmons came in and gave my teacher his favorite drink that she bought with her own money without even being asked. Ms. Simmons is so selfless and dedicated- literally everything she does is for the good of other people. If anyone deserves a LifeChanger of the Year award, it’s Ms. Simmons, who worked so hard to make all of our lives and the world better

John Ocker Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary Simmons is a very knowledgeable nurse. Her skills have protected many from danger throughout the years at our school. Because of her care our environment is a healthy place to work and study. She has consistently monitored our health, through basic check - ups, counseling, medical referrals and emergency first aid. Rosemary Simmons is a blessing!

Dorothy Simon Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary Simmons is an integral part of our school. She is everywhere, bandaging students and staff, supplying cough drops while juggling luncheons. She is always ready to help out with serving and setting up luncheon fundraisers for everyone's clubs. Rosemary is always to be found cleaning up from fundraisers, or bringing cakes in to celebrate teacher birthdays. Her "Serenity Center" is famous; it's a comfortable place for stressed students or faculty to relax amidst plants, little fountains, and cheerful posters. Rosemary brings bright cheerful colors to our school in her fun matching outfits, and beware on Halloween, when she comes dressed as a devil! On St. Patrick's day she comes in from head to toe in green, and the day after Memorial Day she is always completely in red white and blue. Rosemary has a special soft spot for the students who struggle with classwork or other problems, and continues to support students after they graduate. Recently she organized a collection of furnishings to set up a student in her apartment by her graduate school in Boston! Rosemary changes lives here at the school from when the students come as visiting 8th graders, all through high school, and way way beyond.

Catherine Mathews Posted 4 months ago

While some may just view Ms.Simmons as the school nurse, she is truly so much more than that. Throughout the past three years, I have worked continuously with Ms.Simmons and have gotten to know a lot about who she is and what she stands for. I can confidently say that Ms.Simmons is one of the most passionate and caring mentors I have had. Even though she is the adviser of many clubs, she still gives her undivided attention to each one. Anytime that I need to talk to her about either a Red Cross event or the Safety Ambassadors program, she is there to help and support me. And there is not a single person at my school who doesn't know this. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that every student would agree that Ms.Simmons has a profound impact in our community. Thus, if there is anyone that deserves this LifeChanger of the Year Award, it is Ms.Simmons.

Carol Lavitt Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary Simmons is the Advisor for the RWJ Barnabas Safety Ambassador Program. As the former Safety Ambassador Program Coordinator, I worked with Rosemary who is a huge fan of this lifesaving program (High School students are taught lessons regarding safety and then they teach 1st and 2nd graders this information in fun and creative ways). Rosemary is the school nurse but involved with her students in so many ways including this initiative. She goes above and beyond. She truly cares about her students academically as well as the development of their moral character. She is the ideal candidate for the LifeChanger of the Year award!

Sharanya Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Simmons is one of the best teachers I've had! She helps so much with the clubs that she runs and makes sure students are okay! As Vice President of the Girl Up club, I've been able to work with Ms. Simmons and she's done so much for the club and helped organize really cool field trips, like when we went to the UN headquarters in New York for a Global Conference!

Sonja Paprota Posted 4 months ago

Ms. SImmons is the school nurse but so much more. Ms. Simmons supports the students in many ways, clubs, fundraisers, true life experiences and mentoring. Ms. Simmons has influenced generations to come with her positive and supportive nature. Her enthusiasm for the students, and life itself, is a true beacon to the students, teachers, and community.

Ryan Shah Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Simmons is one of the most energetic, passionate, and committed people I know and would be the perfect choice for the LifeChanger of the Year Award. I've had the pleasure of serving on the Interact Club (one of Ms. Simmon's many clubs) council for two years now and thus I have worked closely with her since then to organize our fundraisers, events, and coordinating service projects. Ms. Simmons always, no matter what, is able to provide insightful guidance and energy to make any project fun. And I feel part of why that is is that Ms. Simmons, inherently, has a passion for helping others and being that changing force in the world. Speaking for my own personal experience, Ms. Simmons has always been a motivational voice for me. Even when I didn't believe I could do something Ms. Simmons would be there to tell me I could and that has made all the difference. I'm absolutely sure that I speak for the entire school when I say that we are grateful for Ms. Simmons. She would make a wonderful recipient of the LifeChanger Award.

Gina Zelko Posted 4 months ago

Rosemary Simmons is the true Guardian Angel that so many people in this world need. Everyone who knows her would agree that she is one of the most generous and selfless humans on this planet, and she will drop everything she's doing to help not only those she loves, but strangers as well. The work that she's done as the adviser for the Safety Ambassadors, The Red Cross, and the National Honors Society is seriously unmatched, and I've had the pleasure of speaking to many of the students whose lives Rosemary has touched and molded and affected. They describe her as extremely personable and caring, and are so grateful for the time that she takes to truly listen to their issues, come up with various solutions, and help the students see those solutions through. Many of Rosemary's students keep in touch with her well after graduation, and she remains a friend and mentor in their lives, helping them with anything, from getting a job to moving apartments. I am extremely fortunate and grateful to say that Rosemary will soon be my mother-in-law, and I honestly could not have gotten luckier. As a mother, Rosemary is extremely supportive of her son's life in every way--she takes a personal interest in his interests, supports his endeavors, and has always truly encouraged him to be himself and chase his passions in order to live the most fulfilling life that he can. She raised him as a single mom since the time he was an infant, often working 2-3 jobs in order to ensure their security, and she still always managed to make it to his activities and be involved in his school; she does in one month what most people accomplish in a year. Anytime you're out with Rosemary in Public, there's an enormous chance that she will run into one or even several people she knows, which is a true testament of just how many lives she has affected. Not only will she run into people she knows, but they generally sprint up to her and give her a huge hug--everyone is always happy to see Rosemary. Rosemary also has several life-long friends whom she sees and keeps in touch with on a regular basis, and the love and loyalty that they have towards her shows, once again, how amazing she is, and how much she's been there for the people in her life. If one of her friends falls ill, Rosemary will be at their front door with a basket of remedies and comforts before the person even has a chance to go to the doctor. She is only of the loveliest and most genuine women on earth, and I am truly blessed to know her. I can't even count the amount of people whose lives I know she's changed, and she is exceptionally deserving of winning Life Changer of the Year!

Lekshmi Vidyadharan Posted 4 months ago

As a parent of a student in Middlesex County Academy for Science Math and Engineering I would like to add a few words to express how well deserving of this title is Ms. Simmons. Ms. Simmons strives to exceed your expectations in service and support. She is always there for the students and the parents. As not just the school nurse, but also in all the other roles that she plays to support the numerous clubs and events. Be it a weekend or a weekday Ms. Simmons is always there for you!