Everything Felt Like a Risk

The Near North Montessori Advancement Team

With 5 virtual events and over 400 registered participants, Big Night 2021 was more than just a Big Night — it was a Big Week supporting scholarship for our deserving students.

At the start of our 2020-21 school year, there were so many unknowns for events that made planning incredibly difficult. A large-scale virtual event, let alone 5, had never been done before. But with a lot of patience, creativity, determination, and support from parent-owned events management company Revel Global Events, we managed to pull off the most successful Big Night NNM has had yet.

  • Monday: In collaboration with Girls Night In (GNI), we kicked off a week of engagement with a comedy show. 
  • Tuesday: We invited more fun with a wine tasting hosted by NNM parent Bradford Taylor. 
  • Wednesday: This was a day all about the family, with a creative virtual escape room put on by NNM’s Erin Hanneman
  • Thursday: A tasty addition to the week with a virtual cooking class with NNM Parent Josh Jones
  • Friday: The wrap-up, of course, was Big Night itself. The live-streamed virtual show featured our in-studio host Kent Carey, Audrey Perrott for her last Big Night as NNM Head of School, and special appearances by NNM alum, as well as the beloved NNM parent tribute band The Audreys. 

While everything for Big Night 2021 felt like a risk, we embraced the risk-taking growth mindset of Montessori. In the end, our community came together to do extraordinary things. Friday night alone, over 400 participants from all different corners of our Near North community joined in on the fun for a great purpose. We celebrated with current parents, faculty and staff, alumni students and parents, grandparents, and even a handful of people with no direct connection to Near North came to bid on this year’s unique big-ticket auction items.

And because of this remarkable community, over $430,000 was raised to provide critical resources to fund needed scholarships at NNM. We believe that a Montessori education should be accessible to all students, regardless of financial circumstances. Because all benefit from living in a diverse community where we can learn from others who are different from us and practice humility and empathy as part of our daily lives. 

It is only thanks to the collective effort of members from every corner of Near North that children from every kind of socioeconomic background are able to be a part of our community and learn from one another through the differences in experiences, ideas, opinions, and identities that shape our world.