It was an emotional experience for Gordon Teiaa as he walked up to receive his degree during The University of the South Pacific’s graduation ceremony at the FMF Gymnasium on Thursday.
Teiaa lost his mother during his first year at USP and wore her picture as his garland to keep the person he missed the most, closest to him. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources Management and Public Administration.
“My mum was an amazing woman who was influential in my decision to leave Kiribati and come to Fiji and pursue my Bachelor’s degree at USP. She was here with me today and I felt her cheering me on,” he said.
“I keep her memories close to my heart at all times and today being a special day for me, it made me miss her more and I can only wish she was here with me in person.”
Teiaa also dedicated his achievement to his daughter and his family, who have been supportive during his time as a student at the University.
He added that there were specific challenges that students faced, however, he was glad to have continued striving.
“It was tough losing my mum during my first year at USP, but I’m glad that I didn’t give up. She would have wanted me to keep going and not lose hope.”