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Student Success: A Voice in Sports

Fresh out of high school and unsure of what would come next, Shane Taylor chose to attend Illinois Central College. A Peoria native with a fondness for sports, he set out to find his way.

“Right out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to study or even if I wanted to go to college…”

Luckily for Taylor, his mother wouldn’t let him lose himself to uncertainty. She nudged him toward community college, where he would have the opportunity to try different programs without the concern of debt.

“I decided to come here because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want to go waste a ton of money at a four-year university studying something that was going to change three or four times.”

Once here, Taylor was able to hit the ground running in spite of the challenges he faced in the classroom.

“I wasn’t always a fantastic student. I played sports, and that was all I cared about. I knew I needed to pick it up a little bit. Then I got here, and there is all this help from academic support services and a lot of great people that helped me focus on my grades. Math Lab was a big one because I started off in one of the low math classes, but with their help, I was able to get an A by the time I took Math 110.”

“If there’s one thing I could share with others, it’s that if you are not sure what you are going to end up doing with your life … stay the course. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but once I started believing in myself and with the help of the great people at ICC, I learned that I could do anything!”

Finally on the right track and taking general education classes, Taylor started to see his path when he took his first communication class.

“I love to talk in front of people and give interviews, and Joe (Chianakas, associate professor of Arts & Behavioral Sciences) was fantastic. He made it extremely easy to talk in front of people. After his first couple of classes, I knew I wanted to go into communications.”

Shortly after deciding to focus on sports communications, Taylor received an unsuspecting career opportunity in his Comm 113 class, taught by Chianakas. Chianakas brought in local businesses to give mock interviews to his students, and that’s when Taylor met Kirk Wessler of the Peoria Journal Star.

“When [Kirk] came in and went through the mock interview I thought that was going to be the last time I would ever see him. Then, the assistant sports editor sent me an email that said Kirk was impressed with the way I interviewed in class and wanted a real follow-up interview!”

Now, Taylor works part time at the Journal Star and is attending Eureka College majoring in Communications with a minor in Leadership. It’s safe to say he is a long way from uncertainty.

“If there’s one thing I could share with others, it’s that if you are not sure what you are going to end up doing with your life … stay the course. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but once I started believing in myself and with the help of the great people at ICC, I learned that I could do anything!”

ICC was Taylor’s Smart Choice. Find what you love and make Your Smart Choice today!