Anaseini Civo graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce.
It was an emotional atmosphere for the 900 plus graduating students and their families after finally being awarded their certificates and degrees during the second graduation of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus.
The scene inside and outside the Vodafone Arena in Laucala was one of utter joy as graduates huddled together for photoshoots with their loved ones.
Anaseini Conivanua Tera, 46, was one of those who graduated with a first degree - a Bachelor of Commerce. The mother of seven was finally rewarded after a six-year struggle of balancing time with her children and studies since February 2010.
"It's certainly been a long and winding journey for me. There have been many obstacles in my way but today I thank God that he has seen me through all that and I would not have made it this far without God," she shared.
“It’s also been an emotional moment for me having lost my mum and dad in 2011. My mom has always been my mentor and I wish they were here with me to witness this. They have been my pillar of strength that have pushed me through but I know they are smiling down on me today," an emotional Ms Tera said.
However this did not stop the Dravo, Bau lady from pursuing her dream.
“I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to my seven children, four sisters and my two brothers for being so supportive of me,” she said.
Kiribati student Terenga Maimoanga, a recipient of the Australia Awards Pacific Scholarship (AAPS) also graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Public Sector Management.
She acknowledged her sponsor, the Australian Government for giving her a chance to study.
“I am so excited and emotional. I have studied for four years,” she said.
Ms Maimoanga said there had been a lot of challenges during her journey but she has never looked back.
“Today all my hard work and sacrifice has paid off and this would not have been possible without my sponsor for which I am grateful,” she added.
An overjoyed Meresiana Tikoisuva, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science said the journey had been long and daunting but she was glad it was over.
She said although she was a full-time student, most of the challenges included peer pressure which led to assignments being submitted late and daylight studying.
Tokanikai Kirata from Rabi Island, also graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and acknowledged the support of her family.
“I started off full-time and then I stayed home due to a lot of factors. Today I am so glad that I made the decision to complete my studies. Right now I want to look for employment and then hopefully further my studies here at USP.
A postgraduate diploma student, Pasepa Lesuma, was also overjoyed at her achievement saying it is never too late to learn.
“It is indeed a challenge going back to school after 30 years and then we get to stay up late at night studying and doing assignments.
“I thank my family for their support and I know this would not have been possible without them. I only wish I had done this earlier,” she noted.
Graduate speaker Kimberly Samson acknowledged God for being their strength and seeing them through the tough times.
“Thank you to our wonderful families. Without you and the significant roles you play in our lives we would not be here today. Your love and sacrifices have paid off because here we are Graduands of USP 2016,” she noted.
Ms Samson also thanked lecturers who equipped graduates with the skills and knowledge throughout their time at USP.
“Thank you for marking hundreds of assignments, presenting hours of lectures and providing a great deal of support and advice along the way,” she noted.
She also acknowledged USP for making the learning experience a great one!
“Coming to USP wasn’t just about studying our disciplines of choice but it was about making new friends, experiencing other Pacific cultures, and growing a strong sense of Pacific Pride. Four years on and I am not just a graduate of The University of the South Pacific but I am a proud Pacific Islander ready to do my bit for our tiny yet mighty island nations,” she added.
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