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Memorial run planned to honor beloved BHS teacher

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 1:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Every once in a while, someone special comes into our lives.

That might be a friend, a neighbor or a teacher.

For many students at Bismarck High School, that special person was English and AVID teacher Jody Olheiser.

Mrs. O. as her students called her, passed away in November after a short battle with cancer.

As tragic as her story is, there is good news too. Since her death, people from all over the country have rallied to help her students, coworkers and family grieve.

Jody Olheiser’s friends and family will always remember her as someone who loved laughing, helping her students spread joy and always putting others first.

“She would drop everything she was doing to help other people,” said her son, Joey Ohleiser.

Those are the memories her loved ones want to keep alive, and honor. This weekend, they’ll do that at the first ever Jody Olheiser Memorial Slush Run.

“She was an avid runner, and she would run in rain, snow, sleet, whatever it was,” said Mark Lardy, dean of students at Bismarck High School.

And while they say she would have hated being the center of attention, Mrs. O. would have been the first to sign up for this run.

“She’d be so proud. She’d bring this joy alongside all of it and that’s kind of the idea behind the run is doing something she loved to do, but also with laughter and just cheering each other on,” said Tana Sukauskas, BHS AVID teacher.

This is the latest in what her sons say has been an overwhelming show of support for their mom.

“I know she’d hate having all the attention on her, but I think she would definitely appreciate the outpouring and the support we’ve received,” said Jody’s oldest son, Jake Olheiser.

There have been fundraisers, including a Christmas door decorating contest and Christmas ornaments.

“Christmas was her favorite holiday,” said Sukauskas.

The support has come from across town. Century High School AVID students held a Kindness Tailgating Party in Mrs. O’s memory. And support has come from across the country; stacks of letters came all the way from New York.

“We had hundreds of handwritten letters that were written from them to each of her students,” said Sukauskas.

Buttons with her favorite saying, “Live a Great Story” have helped keep Jody’s memory alive.

Joey: I haven’t taken it off since she died. A constant reminder of his mom’s passion for life and for helping others.

“It’s pretty special,” said Joey.

And this button is a source of encouragement for Joey to live a great story every single day.

The run starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sertoma Community Center on 300 Riverside Park Road. Registration is $25 per runner and $15 for Bismarck High Students. Proceeds will go toward a scholarship in Jody’s name.

You can find more information and registration information on Facebook – search “Jody Olheiser Memorial Slush Run” or send an email to landon_dekrey@bismarckschools.org.

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