‘Top Black Achievers’ to honor students

Emily Brodt, Staff Reporter

African-American students are being honored at this year’s “Top Black Achievers” reception Thursday 7 p.m. in the Grand Ball Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Jazmine Thompson, a graduate assistant and one of the students being recognized, said her family is what motivates her to be successful. She is a first generation college student and said she is very proud of how far she has come.

But it was not always success for her, said Thompson. It took her seven years to complete an undergrad degree. Thompson went to community college before coming to Eastern. She was a part of TRiO and received help from the Student Success Center to get her to where she is now.

Thompson said that Eastern was her first choice for graduate school.

Not only did she choose Eastern but Eastern chose her.

Thompson said that the Top Black Achievers reception is important because it gives African American students a chance to be recognized for all their hard work. Thompson said students who think they are unnoticed are motivated by this recognition and it makes students want to achieve more.

Thompson said the receiving this award lets her know that she is on the right track.

“It gives a chance to recognize the African-American students that are here on a predominately white campus that are doing really good things,” Thompson said. “It gives them a opportunity to showcase the hard work they’ve putting in.”

Thompson holds a graduate assistant-ship with TRiO and is also the coordinator of the Eastern Student Parent Association and she is a member of the Black Graduate Student Association.

For her future, Thompson said she will graduate from the College of Student Affairs and hopes to be the Director of a transfer center or become an Academic Adviser at a community college.

Xana Cushingberry, a junior communications disorders major, said she is honored to be receiving an award at the Top Black achievers. Cushingberry said her biggest motivations for doing well is her family and getting good grades. Both of Cushingberry’s parents were Alumni at Eastern and she said it makes her very happy to make them proud.

Cushingberry said she received the news about being honored at the Top Black achievers through an email and one of the first things she did was call her parents to share to good news. Cushingberry said her parents are her biggest inspiration and she hopes to follow in their footsteps.

Cushingberry said she chose Eastern because her parents went here but also because of the size and the communication disorders program, which her major is.

Cushingberry said she was honored at Top Black Achievers last year and she is very happy to have been invited back.

Aside from her parents, Cushingberry said her love for reading is also a huge contributor to her academic success.

After she graduates, Cushingberry said she would get a graduate degree and then hopes to work in a school setting with children somewhere in Chicago. Cushingberry said one of her personal goals is to be a well-rounded and well-versed individual and said she believes she is on the right track.

The coordinator for the event, B. James Griffin Jr, said this event is important because it honors students who are often overlooked while also being a great opportunity to connect with students.

“We want to build a community of leaders and role models,” Griffin said.

Griffin said they decided to hold this event to kick off the Black Student Reunion Weekend. Griffin said The Office of Minority affairs and Black Student Graduate Association wanted to celebrate their student’s achievements cast a positive light on their success to motivate others.

Griffin said those selected would receive a certificate, their name in a booklet and a chance to connect with an EIU Alumni to mentor them educationally and professionally.


Emily Brodt can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]