EAST CHICAGO | Terry Weathers doesn't have the word quit in his vocabulary.
During his years at East Chicago Central High School, Weathers thought his pinnacle would be winning the 2007 IHSAA State Championship with notable teammates E’Twaun Moore, Kawaan Short and Angel Garcia. Weathers would eventually find out that was nearly the beginning.
“I never gave much thought to college while in high school,” said Weathers. “My grades were mediocre and below and I definitely thought that attempting to go was pointless because I just didn’t have the financial means.”
Weathers would meet a social worker at Central that changed his life.
Michele Gallardo took Weathers under her wing during a mentoring program and was adamant about Terry filling out his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and preparing him for the next level of life’s journey. Weathers would become a community son as St. Catherine Hospital and then East Chicago Health Director Diana Garcia Burns also took Weathers in and became a mother figure to him.
“Michele was hounding me about my paperwork and getting myself together and Mrs. Burns and her really made me believe that college just might happen for me,” said Weathers. “All of a sudden I had two godmothers like in the books and movies.”
College would happen for Weathers. Oakton Community College coaches Mick Reuter and Louis Walker, who had watched Weathers’ defensive tenacity while playing for Central, eventually would take their chance on him.
“We were so excited for Terry,” said Gallardo. “He was a very sweet and determined young man but he needed direction and encouragement because he never really had that. We didn't want him to become a victim of circumstance because we all knew he was better than that.”
Weathers would spend three years at Oakton before transferring to Indiana University East and finishing his basketball and academic career.
In May, Weathers graduated with a Bachelor Degree in General Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is currently working as a permanent substitute teacher at Monument Lighthouse Charter School in Indianapolis.
“I just want to give back to kids that are in my position,” said Weathers. “I have been absolutely blessed to have some dynamic role models in my life and I know what they mean to me and I just want to pay that forward.”