Verona Immaculate Conception Alumni Sign “The Wall” at Newly Renovated Field House
Immaculate Conception High School's Amy Popp pens Patch Letter to the Editor.
To kick off the holiday season, the day after Thanksgiving, over fifty Immaculate Conception High School alumni, family and friends, participated in a “wall signing” event in the newly renovated Codey Field House.
The purpose of the event was twofold: the field house has just been renovated and to christen it, IC Alum Ron Macey, the coordinator of the event, thought that it would be meaningful to have all former IC football players sign the “Defend the Den” wall in the field house.
Macey greeted a larger crowd than he expected and alumni who had played on the IC Lions football team during high school were eager, enthusiastic, and a bit sentimental about signing the wall.
“The huge amount of pride alumni exuded was very obvious,” said Macey.
Some of the attendees, and signers, included Lou Racioppe of Verona, IC Class of 1974, Ted Jarmusz of Highlands, IC Class of 1974, and John Finnegan of Caldwell, IC Class of 1973 who were all former coaches.
In addition, other supporters and signers included Omar Mitchell of East Orange, Athletic Director at Immaculate Conception High School, IC Class of 1998, Jeramiah McElroy of Newark, IC Class of 2012, Mike Fess, of Caldwell, IC Class of 1978, Mike Kinney of Piscataway, IC Class of 1977, and long time coach Mike Malkinski of East Hanover, IC Class of 1973.
Twenty-seven former players and nine recent graduates were among the signers, as well as friends, wives, girlfriends, cheerleaders, sons, daughters and current students.
In his greeting to the attendees, Macey emphasized the positive, unprecedented events that have occurred at Immaculate Conception in the past year: the success of the first annual Pride Gala, the new IC logos, a consistent branding message, the IC merchandising franchise (iclionstore.com), and the renovation of the field house.
Former players were impressed by all of the improvements to the field house but Macey adds, “I was especially encouraged about how many non-players visited the field house for the first time.”
In attendance was Father Burla, former athletic director and religion teacher at ICHS. Father Burla has been the face of Immaculate football since 1970 and resurrected the football program in the 1970s.
He has wholeheartedly supported the recent efforts to reenergize the team and renovate the field house. As the recognized founder of the program he was asked to be the first to sign the wall. He also dedicated the wall to kick off the festivities.
It was evident from the crowd and the remarks by alumni that this event had a lot of meaning for them. For now their names will be on the wall of the field house for as long as the field house is standing!
The event was also a time for alumni to socialize and reminisce about past times in high school and on the football field. In addition, everyone discussed the potential utilization of the field house for other types of events in the future.
Amy B. Popp
Immaculate Conception High School