Editorial comment – A positive reflection

Kara Sewale with her son Setareki Wainiqolo who is the first Fijian to have graduated from Yale University. Picture: SUPPLIED

IT isn’t every day that we get to hear of a Fijian graduating from Yale University, one of America’s premier Ivy League institutions.

This week though, the Fiji flag flew high when Setareki Wainiqolo became the first Fijian to graduate with a Master’s in Fine Arts.
As our report on Page 1 today reveals, the 27-year-old former Marist Brothers High School student drew applause from fellow graduates as he scampered to the podium to receive the honour.
A large number of San Francisco’s Fijian Catholic community travelled with his mother, Karalaini Sewale, to witness the event and share in Mr Wainiqolo’s huge achievement.
Mr Wainiqolo said it was his proudest moment as a Fijian.
“I have never felt more honoured to be the best that I can be for my country, for my family and for my mother.”
Mr Wainiqolo’s achievement places him among renowned movie stars such as Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Sigourney Weaver who all studied at Yale.
He paid tribute to his aunts and relatives who raised him in Fiji, his mother and his faith in God for playing a huge part in the experiences that led to his success.
The Yale University website states there are 4462 international students and scholars, 5453 undergraduate students and 6859 graduate and professional students. International students represent 118 countries.
It said each year thousands of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students complete their time at Yale with knowledge, experience, and accomplishments that will last a lifetime.
Founded in 1701, it stands among the oldest institutions of higher learning in the US.
It goes without saying that not everyone will be able to get into Yale.
Not everyone will be fortunate enough to get a place.
Mr Wainiqolo is like a beacon of hope for aspiring students who may want to further their education in the US.
He stands out as an example of what can be achieved with perseverance, hope, a strong family support base and the willingness to aspire, belief in God and self-confidence. His achievement is a positive reflection of his upbringing and the many lessons and opportunities he embraced along the way.
Such stories should motivate us to reach out and live our dreams. We hope Mr Wainiqolo’s achievement will serve as motivation for students to embrace education, set goals and believe in themselves.
Congratulations certainly are in order for Mr Wainiqolo and his loved ones.