2017 Boca's Ballroom Battle

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Marie Occhigrossi

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Marie Occhigrossi

Never Let the Fear of Striking Out Keep you from Playing the Game!

–        A Cinderella Story or Babe Ruth depending on whether you believe Liv or Frank!

My Dearest Friends –

            Those of you who know me, really know me and are well aware that I believe with hard work and perseverance anyone can accomplish anything.

I have now learned the exception to that mantra is one’s quest to master the art of Ballroom Dancing.

Call me crazy, as my darling Frank has, but I have joyfully agreed to become one of this year’s “Elite Eight” and compete in the 2013 Boca’s Ballroom Battle. As many of you well know, this is the hottest charity event of the summer. The event boasts an attendance exceeding 800 of Boca’s finest and has been a sell out since its inception.

Frank and I dedicate a good part of our lives giving back to causes we believe in. The George Snow Scholarship Fund is at the top of our list and holds the greatest place in my heart.

Many of you may not know that I grew up as the middle child in a house of five. We were raised in a modest, middle-class, Italian American home located in Massapequa Park, Long Island, New York. My dad was a bartender and my mom was a waitress. At a time where most moms were homemakers, my mom had to work to help support our family and work hard she did.

My mom wanted a better life for her kids and at an early age, she instilled in me the foundation of the value system I hold dear today: “Work hard, study, get good grades.” My mom would also tell me that if I got an education, I could be anything I wanted to be and my children would have a very different life than I had with my mom always working. So that’s exactly what I did and when it came time to go to College, I had great grades and test scores, all I needed was money. I got financial aid; we took loans, and got a partial scholarship. Off I went.

Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a lawyer and my mom said, “Don’t worry if you make it to law school, I will mortgage our house to pay for it. Don’t worry, just work hard.”

So work hard I did and guess what, something amazing happened to me. I was chosen as a recipient of the St. Thomas More Academic Scholarship at St. John’s University School of Law.

Because of the generosity of folks I will never know, I was able to attend law school for free. I will never forget the day my mom opened the mail and called me at work, screaming with joy, as she read that letter.

And so it is for this reason that I humbly ask you to join me and the George Snow Scholarship Fund to help give the gift of education to the many deserving graduating seniors in Palm Beach County that the fund helps. This year the fund has awarded over $580,000 to 80 deserving seniors.

These scholarships are four year commitments and committed to these kids Tim, Pam, Debi, Stacy, and Jamie, the whole Snow organization surely are.  As Tim Snow says, “These kids become part of the close Snow family.”

I have supported and worked on committees for many other charitable organizations. I have never seen a more dedicated and committed group than these folks. Tim Snow started this scholarship 31 years ago in honor of his dad George Snow and today the first Snow Scholar, Kristi, sits on the Funds Board of Trustees. Many of the past Snow Scholars continue to support the Snow’s efforts to benefit the students that follow in their footsteps.

So as you all can see, my heart is really in this one. About four years ago, I got a letter like this one from my friend Peggy Henry who was dancing in the Boca’s Ballroom Battle and I had no idea what this was all about. But I wanted to support my friend, so I bought a table and Frank and I attended. The event was spectacular as was Peggy’s dance, but the feeling in the room was contagious.

Ever since then, our family has been supporting this event and we hope you will join us in continuing to do so.  Frank and I have been blessed with so much of life’s good fortune.  Our two fabulous children, Griff and Olivia, are happy, healthy, bright young people and we adore them both.  We too are in good health and are surrounded by close family, who live nearby. 

            In an effort to pay it forward, Frank and I have established a Family Scholarship that we present every year with the fund and I invite you to do the same.

            The two students who have been the recipients of our scholarships thus far are extraordinary young people and it is our pleasure to follow their life journey.

            I know you all get asked for a lot of deserving charitable causes.  Please know there is no amount too small when it comes to helping these deserving kids.  Every dollar counts and I’m so very grateful for every ounce of support. 

There are several ways you can help me.

1)     Click on the “Donate” button on this page. From there, select my name in drop down menu under “Dancer I am supporting” and make a tax-deductible contribution to the George Snow Scholarship Fund.

2)     Purchase a table or tickets to the event and specify you are doing this in support of me. The event is Friday, August 16th, 2013 at the Boca Resort 6 PM and is always a sellout! Please come and be part of my cheering section.

3)     Purchase a sponsorship in my name to the event. You can support me and see your name on the Big Board as well.

4)     Become a program advisor or an acknowledgement in support.

5)     You can mail a check payable to: “George Snow Scholarship Fund” but don’t forget to list my name on it.

 

Please call Debi Feller if you need help with any of the above.

She can be reached at (561) 347-6799

There is ANOTHER dancer named Marie, so please be sure that it is me

you click on to support!

I had no idea how difficult this would be. I have corns on my toes, aches in my back, been called a ringer on more than one occasion by one of the other dancers and the dance I have been given is so far out of my comfort zone I want to run and hide. Nonetheless, I will give it my best shot, which in this case is a long shot on the dancing side.

More importantly, it is my goal to SHATTER the record for most money raised to support the George Snow Scholarship Fund.

Without the gift of the scholarship, I would not be where I am today. So please help me pay it forward and help these kids help themselves, just as some kind folks did for me almost 30 years ago.  Believe me, you have the power to change a deserving young person’s life.

With love and gratitude always.

Forever friends,

Marie


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Personal Bio:

            Marie Occhigrossi was born in Massapequa Park, NY – The middle child of an Italian American family.

            She received her B.S. summa cum laude from St. John’s University and went on to receive a full Academic Scholarship to St. John’s University School of Law where she graduated with honors as a St. Thomas More Scholar.

            After graduating law school, Marie began her legal career at the Nationally Recognized NY Law Firm of Weitz & Luxenberg.

            For over 26 years, Marie has continued her Professional Association with the Weitz & Luxenberg firm, presently as the Managing Attorney of the firms Estates Department.

            For 15 years, Marie has been married to her hero, Frank Occhigrossi, and they are devoted parents to their two amazing children Griff, who is a talented singer/songwriter and Olivia who is a beautiful ballerina.

            Marie has volunteered her time, talent and resources to many charitable areas including: George Snow Scholarship Fund, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Florence Fuller Child Development Center, to name a few. Additionally, Marie has been an active supporter of both Pine Crest and Saint Andrew’s school. She has served as an Honorary Chair of JDRF’s One Hot Night, is a founding member of Dancing Classroom Southeast Florida, was the presenting sponsor for sponsor for FFCDC 1st Major League Baseball Alumni Event, and continues to be a proud supporter of the George Snow Scholarship Fund.

            For Marie, giving back is part of life. Coming from a close knit Italian Family, she is deeply devoted to her family. Marie treasures her close relationship with her two brothers Sal and Ralph and the love of her mother Linda.  Her greatest accomplishment is the family life that she shares with Frank, Liv, and Griff.

            In Marie’s own words, she feels blessed for the life that she has and the love of her family and close friends.

Life is really, really, good.

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