For the past three years, Ithaca’s Immaculate Conception School has turned a tragic circumstance into something positive.
Approximately $650 was raised from “Mark Oz Week” held Feb. 14-18 to commemorate Mark Ozminkowski, an Immaculate Conception graduate who died in 2002 while a student at Syracuse University. He had battled bone cancer for more than five years. Proceeds from this year’s Mark Oz Week went toward an endowment fund for the children’s cancer unit at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
Highlighting the week were Valentine’s Dress-Up Day; a Sports Day that saw many folks wearing baseball caps backwards “because that’s how Mark wore it,” explained Deacon Dan Hurley, school principal; Freaky Geeky Day in which clashing clothes were the norm; Let’s Golf in Hawaii Day featuring grass-skirt attire and a “golf ball estimation contest” similar to a jelly-bean contest; and Pajama Day. Deacon Hurley said Mark Oz Week benefitted from the creative flair of several teachers.
The first Mark Oz Week took place shortly after Mr. Ozminkowski’s death and has now become an annual event, bringing cheer to both his family and the school.
“I think it’s been healing and helpful,” Deacon Hurley said.