Meet the Class of 2019
Whitworth's freshman students are on the go and eager to grow
By Julie Riddle, '92, and Greg Orwig, '91
This fall, the Whitworth community welcomed 584 freshmen into the fold. They are bright leaders with servants' hearts, talented go-getters and resilient overcomers. Here we introduce three students whose inspiring stories represent the remarkable Class of 2019.
Jeff Louissaint, '19
- Is the youngest of eight children; his father passed away in 2011
- Elected class president during his second year of high school, in Haiti
- Founded an organization, "Goumen Pou Sa'w Kwe" (Fight for What You Believe In), to create a healthy and safe environment for the children in his neighborhood. Each summer he organized a soccer tournament so the children could enjoy doing an activity they loved.
- Emigrated from Haiti to Spokane in April 2013, joining his mom and oldest sister; at the time he was fluent in three languages but did not speak English
- Was a member of Ferris Link Crew, which helps the freshman class transition into Ferris High School
- Was so grateful for the help he received from seasoned English-as-a-second- language students in Spokane that he began helping the newer students and he continues to support the ESL community
- Is an Act Six Scholar at Whitworth
- Plans to major in pre-engineering and eventually to earn a civil-engineering degree so that he can help rebuild his home country and support his family
"I am pretty much enjoying everything here at Whitworth. I have really enjoyed Traditiation Week, and the classes and intramural sports. The professors are always available to help students however they possibly can."
"I know poverty. I know what being in need means. I also have learned that education is the best path out of poverty and can lead me to success. When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, you will be successful."
Andrea (Andie) Rupke, '19
- Calls Olympia, Wash., home
- Took part in a variety of activities at Tumwater High School, including volleyball, theatre productions, Young Life, and Renaissance, a leadership program
- Participated in mission trips with her youth group to Uganda, Africa, and Tijuana, Mexico, and to rural areas such as Lakeview, Ore., and Potlatch, Idaho
- Her parents, Ron, '89, and LeAnn, '90 (Coumbs) Rupke, met at Whitworth
- Attends college with her sister, Katie Rupke, '16, an accounting and business management double major
- Majoring in English, secondary education track
- Vocational missionary work has always been a passion, and she would love to use her teaching degree as a vessel for missionary work
"I chose to attend Whitworth because I grew up hearing amazing stories about Whitworth. Having parents who met at and graduated from Whitworth is always fun when you get to hear their great stories. I also love Spokane and the activities to enjoy here. But I truly love how Whitworth focuses on a mind-and-heart education. That was very important to me."
"Traditiation was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had! There was something unique about bonding with other freshmen who were experiencing the exact same emotions as I was."
Nick Healey, '19
- Hails from Naples, Fla.
- A car accident in 2013 led to the amputation of one of his legs
- Heard about Whitworth through Young Life
- Attended a Whitworth Honors Colloquium Scholarship competition and won a full-tuition scholarship
- Speech communication & theology double-major; plans also to earn a Certificate in Ministry
- Participates in men's chorus, Young Life, Hosanna and chapel
- Plans to work in ministry after graduating
"The car accident turned my family around. My parents realized how short life could be, and my dad came back into my family's lives. The accident brought my sisters, mom and me together again. We started spending time together and sharing life with each other. Two of my sisters and my dad ended up getting to know Jesus (which makes the whole thing worth it)."
"I really appreciate Hosanna (a weekly student-led worship service). It's so nice to stop studying for an hour to praise God, and it's comforting seeing more than 100 of my peers worshipping. None of my friends at the University of Florida get to experience what I experience here. I also appreciate the relationships I am already forming with my professors. The education I am receiving is incredible, and I value greatly the friendships that I am building. Dylan Reyes ('18) started a small group for some freshman guys, and through it many deep friendships have begun."