LEGACY begins and ends with the story of Nickcole, who offers a strong example of an unwavering commitment to success. Her determination, and the support systems she engages, model what is needed for successful youth outcomes: self-esteem, access to a supportive school environment, youth employment and mentoring through her participation in the Boys & Girls Club, access to higher education and the potential to develop a "world view" through her contacts with people of other races, religions, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Like her mother, Nickcole grew up without her father. Unlike her mother, she found a mentor who challenged her and helped to build her confidence. Kenny Butler, the director of the Boys & Girls Club in the Henry Horner Homes, also advised her on financial aid so that she could attend an all-girls Catholic school, and employed her at his frame shop, a business he ran on the side.
Nickcole drives herself and feels supported by her family. The death of Terrell motivates her to "make my goals better" and "show myself I can do better." One of the most emotionally uplifting scenes in the film is Nickcole's graduation from high school. A first time occurrence for the family, they come out in full force, celebrating, too, her acceptance at Northern Illinois University. Dorothy, her grandmother, is overcome with emotion. She approaches Nickcole with a smile, then holds on tightly as the tears come.
The filmmaker asked Nickcole what wish she might grant for her mother. Her response: "to go back and do everything she ever wanted to do, to finish high school and college, and not have to worry about supporting herself at an early age." (Alaissa was 16 when Nickcole was born and dropped out of school in the eleventh grade.) Alaissa is very moved to hear this. She comments: "It makes me feel good that she thinks like that. All of my talking paid off. She's going to make it. All things come later...you come first."