The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

A come-back story from the come-back award recipient

Cam’ron Hardy
Antonioys Gibson, a junior psychology major, gets the “Come Back” award at the Dia de Los Muertos Gala Saturday night.

Antonioys Gibson, a junior psychology major, fought through a lot his freshman year of college at Eastern.

From his lack of discipline, which would later negatively affect his grades, to problems at home back on the Southside of Chicago, Gibson dealt with numerous adversaries early in his academic career at Eastern.

Before attending Eastern, Gibson completed his senior year of high school virtually. During that time, he said he had become lazy, which caused him to have a rough start transitioning into college.

During his freshman year, Gibson’s grade were abysmal. He said he was hanging out with the wrong group of people, which was one of the reasons for his performance.

“[I was] hanging with the wrong crowd, I didn’t have self-discipline, and I had nothing going for myself,” Gibson said.

Gibson received an academic warning, which later switched to academic probation.

During his spring semester of his freshman year, he said he only had D’s and F’s in his classes.

Closing out his freshman year, he was left with an outstanding balance that needed to be paid in order for him to register for classes for his sophomore year.

During that summer, he decided that he needed to make a change in his life.

He was recommended to join TRIO, a student support service at Eastern, by his academic advisor Beth Kastl.

Gibson said Kastl helped him get into TRIO and also assisted him with lowering his bill so he could register for classes.

During his sophomore year, Gibson was dealing with panic attacks due to his anxiety, which also occurred throughout his freshman year.

His little brother was also dealing with seizures back home in Chicago, which was consuming him mentally.

“I was really depressed,” Gibson said. “I felt like it was the end. I [felt] like I couldn’t continue school. I was going to take a semester off.”

While expressing his frustrations to his father, his father motivated him to continue and push through school.

Other problems started to occur at home which was another reason for him to stay in Charleston and continue his education.

Gibson later joined TRIO and connected with Kassandra Garcia, a graduate student majoring in human services.

Gibson learned that Garcia went through some of the same experiences as him, which allowed them to get to understand each other.

Garcia helped Gibson maintain his life by setting up weekly planners and hosting weekly meetings.

At the end of his sophomore year, Gibson was still on academic probation due to dropping a class, but he saw an improvement in his grades overall.

He used to rely on motivation to get his work done, but later learned that all he needed was self discipline.

Starting his junior year, he still had the ambition to do different things.

He joined the Resident Hall Association, STRONG MENtoring, which focuses on issues and challenges that men of color face while pursuing higher education.

With all of his goals that he has reached, he still has plans to do more. Another goal of his was to connect with more people and network.

“I’m just trying to network this year, that’s my biggest key,” Gibson said. “I’m trying to do something great for myself. I’m trying to get scholarships and get involved in things because I want to have a good future.”

He got off of academic probation during his spring semester of his sophomore year and was moved into “Good Standings” with his grades, which means that his GPA is above a 2.0.

Gibson said this “arc” is his life is still being written.

Gibson said he was surrounded by the right people and going to the library to do work.

He knows that he still has more to do but is aware of the work and growth that he has done so far.

“I did good last year and I’m doing good this semester,” Gibson said. “Ever since then, I’m all about improvement [and] growth. I’m growing as a man mentally, physically, spiritually. There’s still some things I have to work on, but the jobs not finished.”

Gibson was awarded with the “Come Back Award” at the Dia De Los Muertos Gala Saturday in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

He appreciates all of his friends and TRIO advisors for helping him get to where he is and coming to support him. He also thanked his father for pushing him and “teaching [him] how to become a man.”

“My dad was the biggest part of this story,” Gibson said. “He always tells me to chase my purpose no matter what.

The Gala was held to held to recognize those who display leadership qualities in the Latinx community, while also celebrating and honoring their ancestors.

The event had multiple ofrenda’s which is a set-up to honor the deceased.

There was a dance which celebrated Mexican folklore.

Luis Paniagua, a graduate student in College of Student Affairs, was one of the performers.

Paniagua said the dance helped show diversity and pride in the Latino culture.

Paniagua said he wanted to represent that culture to Eastern since it is a predominately white institution.

He said that he was proud of his performance and only had two weeks to learn it.

This year was the second year that the Gala was held and he hopes that it can happen next year. He also wants more people to attend but appreciated all of the students and faculty that did attend.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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