Knox Changes Lives: We’re on our way there – final challenge day! Judd '69 & Charlene Jessup and Merry ’80 ...
Secondary Education Major, History major
How did you get involved with athletics at Knox?
My dad, Andy Gibbons coached football here from 1991- 2017. Now he is a strength conditioning coach. I grew up around Knox on the sidelines of the football field. It felt like a home to me. Next thing you know, I am a senior at Knox College. Football has been an amazing experience.
The coaches play a big part in that. I also played baseball my first three years here, and the head baseball coach, Jami Isaacson, has helped me out in so many ways. He is an amazing person.
You mentioned you grew up on the sidelines. Do you have any moments that you remember as a kid that stand out to you?
I loved watching Knox football. I watched on the sidelines in my Knox jersey, and the players always greeted me and gave me high fives. I would go to every home game and most of the away games. That was my life. I grew up thinking it would be cool to be one of those players some day. Now here I am as a senior playing football, and I will be returning for my fifth year next fall to play one last season of football.
How has Knox prepared you for a position in secondary education?
I want to pursue secondary education because I had a lot of great secondary education teachers in my life who remain my role models. I want to be that person for other people. This winter, I participated in a student teaching position at Knoxville High School teaching U.S. history and Illinois history. It was truly an amazing experience. I learned that I definitely want to teach history, particularly U.S. history, but I would not mind teaching world history.
What impact have other students had on your experience?
As a secondary education major, I spent my entire junior academic year with a core group of seven people. It created a good learning atmosphere since we all knew each other. When we gave presentations, we would give each other ideas, good and bad feedback, and guidance. Our professor, Scott Dewitt, associate professor and chair of educational studies, led us through discussions. He is a great professor.
Which professors stick out to you as being especially impactful?
There are so many good professors at Knox. I owe a lot of what I have done here to Catherine Denial, Bright Distinguished Professor of American History and chair of history. I took my first preceptorial class with her as a first-year student, and I have taken about five of her classes now. I definitely could not be where I am today without her help along the way. If someone comes to her with an idea, she is open to it and will do everything in her power to help us accomplish our goals.
Konrad Hamilton, Burkhardt Distinguished Associate Professor of History and chair of American studies, has helped me a lot in my history courses, especially when I needed to write a 15 to 20 page paper. Additionally, Laurie Sauer, associate librarian for digital initiatives and collectives, helps me collect research for my papers and answers all my questions along the way. My advice, especially for history majors, is to get connected with her immediately. She is here to help you perform research and get your assignments done.
After you graduate, is there going to be one thing about Knox that you miss the most?
Definitely the people: the professors, the coaches, the students. I have lots of good friends here. I always tell people when they are thinking about doing something, to look at the people. In the end, it is always about the people. People make the place. I am going to miss the people here.
Charlie Gibbons played on the Prairie Fire baseball team from 2019-2021 and on the football team from 2018-2022.