BRIDGMAN — The tradition of Taco Night at the Old Mill Run was revived at Bridgman High School on Feb. 20 as the Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence partnered with Classic Catering to host an Old Mill Run Mexican Fiesta Night.

Meals for a family of four consisting of eight chicken and cheese enchiladas, ingredients for eight soft-shell tacos (tortillas, ground beef, Spanish rice, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream) along with chips and salsa were distributed drive-through style at the school so everyone could enjoy the tastes of Old Mill Run in the comfort of their homes.

Classic Catering is owned and operated by Brett and Melissa Boyd, who also owned the Old Mill Run restaurant in New Troy and established the Wednesday Taco Night tradition for nearly two decades beginning in the early 1980s.

Brett Boyd said he graduated from college in Texas and came home to New Troy in 1983 when the Mexican Night was started (eventually the eatery had a full Mexican menu).

“The first night we did Taco Night we did 26 orders of tacos. By the time we were done I think we were doing about 1,000 orders a night,” he said. “We started them out at three for a dollar – We were making a taco every nine seconds.”

He noted that the restaurant seated a maximum of 85 people, so there was often a line on the big night.

Boyd said the Old Mill Run was sold in 1999 (although Classic Catering has occasionally featured Mexican menus as a tribute to the New Troy restaurant).

“It was fun. We had great people, great customers, great staff. We were grateful for anybody that came all the way to New Troy to be there,” he said.

The Feb. 20 Old Mill Run Mexican Fiesta Night raised funds to provide enhanced learning opportunities for Bridgman students, staff, and community. According to volunteer Tara Heiser 176 meals were served raising nearly $1,000.

Volunteers who helped make Old Mill Run Mexican Fiesta Night happen included Rita DePedro, Paula Vogie, JoAnne DeMeulenaere, Leslie Kroeze, Josh Paveza, Shane Peters, Kelly Dargus, Allan Barker, Darcy Nitz, Jamie Starbuck, Wayne Hall, Linda Gedeon-Kuhn, and Heiser.

Founded in 2009, the non-profit Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence strives to recognize innovation, foster excellence, and make a positive impact on the future of our community through education. To learn more, donate, or volunteer visit www.bridgman foundation.org.

Its next fundraiser, the 8th Annual Links for Education Premier Golf Experience, is scheduled for May 10, 2021, at Lost Dunes in Bridgman. Cost is $300 per golfer or $1,100 per foursome. Go to www.bridgmanfoundation.org for more information or to register.

The Foundation awards grants to teachers for the purpose of supporting curriculum enrichment and enhancing the learning experience during each school year.

Its 2019-20 grants included:

Supporting a variety of age-specific activities for all Elementary School students for use on days when recesses are held inside in the bus hallways. The items update current toys/activities with ones that have a STEM-related application and provide a better use of free time and children’s energy that will result in fewer discipline issues.

Purchasing various art materials for grades 9-12 to create, maintain and use individual sketchbooks, including final binding and followed by creation of a digital version. Sketchbooks provide a place, where over time, students can practice, experiment with tools and techniques and see progress in their technical skills and processes.

Implementing Phase 2 of a “spade in the ground project” to create a garden at Reed Middle School and continue work toward its goal of making gardening and healthy eating a permanent part of Bridgman Public Schools. The school’s Garden Club will also create educational signage for all plantings.

Obtaining fiction and nonfiction history books for 6th grade help deepen students’ knowledge of social studies concepts as well as increasing reading levels, thus supporting the school improvement reading goal.

Adding The Harmony Director, a specialized keyboard, to teach specifics about tuning, intonation and harmony through comparative learning to take the band to the next performance level.

Supporting a String Art for Advanced Geometry project to enhance student understanding of geometry, first by using paper and colored pencils and then by applying that knowledge to create string art on wood planks.

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