Campus greets Madrigal, celebrates his recovery

By Obed Manuel
Opinion & Copy Editor

Derek Madrigal walked through the front doors of S Building April 17. It was the student’s first appearance at Brookhaven College since being attacked by 10 men on South Padre Island March 17.

Dr. Thom Chesney, Brookhaven president, greeted Derek and his father, Frank Madrigal, at the doors.

Local stations – including CBS News 11, WFAA Channel 8 and Fox 4 News – sent crews to capture video of Derek making his return to the school.

“I was shocked to see so many people there,” Derek said.

A banner with the message “Derek, Keep Getting Stronger!” was laid on a small table across from the Welcome Center for students and employees to sign and share messages of support for the Madrigal family.

Student Adriana Cantu, a friend of Derek’s, said she has known him two years and is glad to see him walking around.

“I just get emotional thinking that someone I know – someone my age – could go through something like what he [Derek] went through,” Cantu said with tears in her eyes.

Derek shook the hands of students and employees who welcomed him back to the campus before heading to the Advising Center to withdraw from his classes. Derek plans to enroll for summer classes.

“To all the people that prayed for me and kept me in their hearts, you’re in my heart,” Derek said. “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”