Graduate speaker Epeli Vualili, delivers his address at the Laucala graduation ceremony.
This was the sentiment expressed by USP’s graduate speaker, Epeli Vualili during the Laucala Campus
graduation on 23 March 2016.
Epeli, who graduated with a Diploma in Information Technology through USP’s Pacific Technical and Further Education
(Pacific TAFE), is deaf. He mesmerised the jam-packed Vodafone Arena with his smart delivery of the speech through sign language.
He completed his studies under the Fijian Government’s Scholarship Scheme for Special Children (SSSC).
Even though Epeli’s speech was one of the last items on the graduation programme, it captured the attention of many and the encouraging words re-energised the graduates. One could feel the support from the crowd with occasional cheers and applauses.
The 30-year-old Bua lad described graduation as the culmination of all the hard work, many hours of anxiety, stress and sleepless nights.
Opening his speech with a tribute to those affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston, Epeli said “Together as a nation we are stronger than Winston; we shall rise, rebuild and conquer.”
While acknowledging the University’s academic staff and support services on behalf of the 1606 graduates, Epeli highlighted that the professional advice of the staff and Pasifika teaching & learning environment, made communication with lecturers and tutors relatively easy.
“All of us here today, graduating class of 2016, are proof of the excellent support that has been provided by USP academic staff and support services,” he added.
He urged CROP agencies, non-government organisations, corporate bodies and other stakeholders to open their doors and work with USP to implement work placement and internship programmes, adding that, USP graduates are valuable assets in this world of change, inclusivity and progress.
Epeli is one of the two students with disabilities of USP who were hired by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) under the USP-SPC Internship programme and his exceptional performance has seen the extension of his employment contract at the organisation.
A total of seven students with disabilities, including Epeli, graduated during the graduation.
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