Legendary Evening postponed due to COVID-19 safety, funding

NILES — A fundraising event to help fund special projects in Niles Community Schools, and to recognize exemplary graduating seniors, has been canceled for this year.
On Thursday, the Niles Education Foundation announced it had decided to cancel this year’s Legendary Evening event. The event is the foundation’s annual fundraiser hosted at the end of summer.
“This is our big fundraiser. We are going to miss it this year because of COVID-19,” said Peg Maiers, president of the Niles Education Foundation. “There are a couple factors: we wanted to keep people to be safe, and you can’t ask for donations from businesses that haven’t been functioning at full capacity.”
Usually recognizing just one graduate, this year’s event was slated to recognize two distinguished Niles graduates. The honor of Exemplary Viking will go to the two honorees from this year, at an event hosted at a later time. The rescheduled date has not yet been announced.
The event will also feature a “Taste of Niles,” which shows off the culinary skills of local businesses. The food is provided in support of the foundation’s mission, and to help aid in raising funds to continue the grants and projects.
Maiers, and the administration expressed disappointment the event will not be hosted this year.
“While it is completely understandable, it is unfortunate that the Legendary Event has been canceled this August,” said Dan Applegate, superintendent of Niles Community Schools. “Many student lives have been touched through the generosity of the Niles Education Foundation. I look forward to next year’s event and encourage the community to join us in the summer of 2021 so we can return to celebrating distinguished Niles High School graduates.”
Though this year’s fundraise will not take place, Maiers believes that the coming school year will be funded, and the foundation will be able to award money for grants and projects. Certified staff from the Niles Community School system may apply for these grants and funding for projects through the foundation.
“It depends on how many apply and what they apply for,” Maiers said. “This year, we may not be able to do any big projects.”
One of the larger projects funded through the Niles Education Foundation was the district wide “Handwriting Without Tears” initiative, impacted kindergarten, first and second graders through Niles Community Schools. Other grants awarded by the foundation have included Howard/Ellis Elementary Soft Starts, Ballard Elementary School’s Sensory Regulation Room and Ring Lardner Middle School’s Reading Store.