The three families named Families of the Year at SIUC

September 23, 2022

SIU honors three Families of the Year for 2022

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is honoring three families as the 2022 Saluki Family of the Year winners during this weekend’s Family Weekend celebration (Sept. 22-24).

The Courtney Hallock family of Murphysboro, Illinois, is the “legacy” Saluki Family of the Year while the Makaila Ballah family of Randallstown, Maryland, is the “non-legacy” Family of the Year. In addition, this year SIU has added a new honoree to the lineup – a “transfer” Family of the Year,” celebrating a new transfer student family who has joined the Saluki family, and the Makayla Learned family of Penfield, Illinois, was selected.

Hallock legacy is strong

Hallock Family photoHallock, a junior hospitality, tourism, and event management major, said her family, which includes John, Becky and Caleb Hallock and Caitlin and Trent McKay, “truly bleeds maroon.”  Her parents met and fell in love at SIU as did her sister and the man she married. Her brother graduated from SIU last year and his girlfriend is a Saluki.  She said she grew up attending football games, parades and alumni events, and she’s happy to now be making her own Saluki memories and sharing stories.   

“My parents are die-hard ’80s/’90s alums who have given so much to give my siblings and me the same amazing college experience they had,” Courtney wrote in her application. “I sincerely think you couldn’t find a more enthusiastic Saluki family than mine.”

Ballah are supportive family

Ballah Family photoBallah is a senior zoology major, and said she has been able to thrive at SIU, her “home away from home” due to the extensive financial and emotional support her family, including LaToya, Stephen and Adina Ballah, have provided. She said they have pushed her to branch out, try new experiences and expand her horizons. Coming so far from Maryland to the Midwest to attend college where she had no family or friends was quite a challenge, but thanks to the support from home and the great welcoming environment she found at SIU, she has been successful.

She’s looking forward to graduating in the spring and said she “couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the Saluki family.”

Learned chose SIU

Learned Family photoComing from an agricultural family, Learned chose SIU to transfer to from Danville Area Community College, and she’s a freshman animal science major. A graduate of Armstrong Township High School, Learned’s family includes parents Billy and Kimberly and sibling Blake, and she hopes to become a veterinarian.

“SIU feels like home, and I already call Carbondale my home even after a few weeks,” Makayla said. 

The theme of this year’s Family Weekend is “Salukis’ Funniest Home Videos,” and contestants were invited to submit short creative or amusing home videos with their entries, which Learned’s family did.

Honors for the families

New Student Programs will honor the selected families with a prize package that includes tickets to the SIU vs. University of North Dakota football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, Saluki swag and other goodies. The recognition takes place during a weekend packed with special activities led by the Office of Student Engagement.

For more information about the 2022 Family of the Year contest, visit Family Weekend also includes a wide variety of special activities a big craft sale, Greek Sing, Saluki football and other activities. Find out more online.