Whitworth seniors surprised with exciting news during online classes

SPOKANE, Wash.– The school year didn’t end the way that anyone wanted, but that’s not stopping a local university from recognizing seniors for their hard work.

Like so many others, Astrid Le Roy’s final months of college were stolen away. The Whitworth University senior is still coming to terms with it.

“It’s definitely hard to see the good in it at some times,” Le Roy said.

It’s been tough for senior Irman Toto Furume, too. He was going into the last months of school with big plans for the dorm where he is an R.A.

“We all had dreams of ending this year in different ways,” Toto Furume said. “A lot of those dreams were crushed.” Whitworth Seniors With Balooon

And yet, Le Roy and Toto Furume still have a lot to celebrate.

Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor made a special appearance in class this week. On Friday, he announced that Toto Furume was the recipient of the prestigious Alumni Ideals Award. Usually this announcement would happen during a big event, but COVID-19 prevented that. So, Taylor improvised. This morning’s news surprised Toto Furume.

But for those who know Toto Furume, they can see why he deserves this recognition. The political science major grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He said he came to America with his family about a decade ago to escape conflict in his home country.

“It’s been a long journey,” Toto Furume said.

Toto Furume transferred to Whitworth two years ago. He’d never been that far west before, but quickly flourished. He spent the last two years as an resident assistant, teacher’s assistant, volunteer, and a friend to so many.

Whitworth Students In A GroupToto Furume is not the only winner this year though.

On Thursday, President Taylor joined a different online class to announce Le Roy will also receive the Alumni Ideals Award, too.

“I was completely blindsided when I found out,” Le Roy said.

Le Roy has an impressive resume of her own. The Michigan native worked for a number of departments at the university. She also served as the senior class coordinator for Associated Students of Whitworth University. She’s also following in her father’s footsteps.

“He actually got the same award when he graduated, so that’s funny,” Le Roy said.

It may not be fair that these seniors lost out on part of their college career, but it’s no excuse to skip out on celebrating their successes.

“It’s a huge accomplishment and it’s really worth getting to celebrate that,” Le Roy said.

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