Makhi Reed '21 Staying on the Right Path at Illinois State University

Makhi Reed ’21, Illinois State University Class of 2025, was immersed in all things Gladiators during his time at CTK. His packed CTK activity list included the National Honor Society, basketball team captain, drumline, 4-year Corporate Work Study Program worker at law firm Kirkland and Ellis, and summer CTK facilities team employee. Makhi and his brother Joshua ’22 were even featured in a day-in-the-life style video that chronicled their busy CTK schedule, and premiered at the 2021 King of Hearts Gala.

The activity that Makhi cites as having the biggest impact on his personal growth while at CTK was his community service experiences. He willingly went above and beyond the service hour requirement each year at CTK, saying: “It was something I wanted to do, rather than was required to do. Service sparked something in me. I feel it is who I am at heart – a servant. The experiences molded me into who I am today, and carried over into college.” His favorite service experience was the early morning Dignity Breakfast in the basement of the Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. This program involved serving a hot and hearty breakfast to people experiencing homelessness on Chicago’s West Side. “It was an honor to start my day by giving back and connecting with others less fortunate than me.” While proud of being recognized with the Grad at Grad award at his CTK graduation along with his friend Kameron McBroom, Makhi said he didn’t necessarily need the validation. “To me, it’s about doing the right thing, whether or not people are watching or noticing.”  

The college junior was introduced to Illinois State University by CTK Health & Wellness teacher, Jaylon Joyner, an Illinois State alum.  Mr. Joyner also connected Makhi to the Impact Movement, a Christian organization that prepares Black students to become disciples of Jesus Christ. “I’m grateful that I found a college community that accepts me and allows me to connect with others, while growing my personal relationship with Christ.” Over time, Makhi has taken on more leadership responsibilities within the organization helping with one-on-one and group sessions, as well as social & service events. He’s proud of helping to increase the number of students in the program from 20-30 to 80+ during his time there.

Makhi credits CTK with helping to prepare him for college coursework, citing his time management skills, strong study habits, and willingness to seek help from his professors and classmates. He recently switched his major to Communications, focused on Organizational Leadership. He is taking 4 classes this semester, and looking forward to a required internship during his senior year. His career goal is to work in the transportation industry, ideally motor coach transportation, and eventually own and run his own transportation business. Near term, he plans to get his Commercial Driver’s License to help him to learn more about the motor coach business.

The dedication and work ethic Makhi exhibited while at CTK, have continued in college. To help pay for college tuition and living expenses, he currently works two jobs while in school. He has been employed at Discount Tire for several years, including full-time during the summer months. This semester he also began working at Rivian Automotive as a weekend overnight security guard. In addition, he does a combination of volunteer and paid work at the City of Refuge Ministry church, where he also attends Sunday services. He makes sure to convey that he’s not all work and no play, as he carves out time with a few friends from IMPACT to compete in an intramural basketball league. Since forming, their team has won one league championship, and finished a close second in another session.   

Makhi’s advice to current CTK seniors when they enroll in college, “Work hard in school, but also know what you are interested in outside of classes. Make sure to see what’s out there, and connect with a club or organization that interests you and get involved. Stay true to yourself and look to hang with the right type of people.”

Best of luck, Makhi!