This Whitworth Life brings the community together through stories

by Denali Herrick | Staff Writer

Whitworth students, staff, faculty and alumni shared their stories with the community at the annual event, This Whitworth Life: Whitworth’s Untold Stories, on Dec. 5. This year’s event was held via Zoom with seven speakers and over 50 virtual audience members.  

Each speaker told a unique story about themselves that has shaped or defined who they are. Junior Taylor Pannell’s story happened recently on this past Thanksgiving weekend. Another story, from Whitworth alumnus Dr. David Flesher, happened over 40 years ago. 

Pannell was the first speaker, and she shared about how she helped a mom when her son broke his wrists at a park over Thanksgiving. “It was a blessing to her and a blessing to me because I’ve been reaching out and feeling nothing in the dark until I bumped into that right time and right place,” Pannell said.  

Flesher shared a memoir of when he went to San Francisco, California during Jan Term in 1979 for an internship. He said that interning at a  free medical clinic showed him that he had a “passion for medicine” and that “the greatest blessing of all was God’s gift of allowing me to serve His people, as a healer.” 

The range of other inspiring stories and topics was wide. A story by Casey Armstrong, who works in the Whitworth custodian department, walked through her day at work and how she keeps Whitworth clean and safe during COVID-19. 

Senior Anesu Mujenge told a story from his childhood in Africa and explained how he tried to fit in. He said, “I always felt like I was selling my soul, yet there I was basking in colored acceptance under the African sun.” 

Whitworth Vice President for Student Life Rhosetta Rhodes shared about dealing with racism at her previous job. To describe her feelings, she said, “There is it again, that blizzard swirling wind that is coming at me from all directions. I can’t seem to escape.” 

The last two stories were presented by seniors Adi McNally and Jack Vandergriend. McNally shared about his experience having top surgery as part of his identity, and Vandergriend shared the story of his high school prom when he was “high” on the medication he was taking after having surgery.  

To watch the entire event and hear more about these stories, click here for This Whitworth Life: Whitworth’s Untold Stories 2020