First for a Fijian

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

THE Fiji flag flew high this week at Yale University — one of the United State’s premier Ivy League institutions — after Setareki Wainiqolo became the first Fijian to graduate with a Master’s in Fine Arts.
The 27-year-old former Marist Brothers High School student drew raucous 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.
“It’s an honour to share my culture and to share my family with this campus today,” he said at an event hosted by the Fijian community.

“I have never felt more proud to be 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 joins ranks with major silver screen stars who studied at Yale, including Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, LeivShreiber, Patricia Clarkson and Sigourney Weaver.

The former Kalabu resident was auditioning for a place at the University of Tennessee when he was pushed by Associate Professor in Acting Jed Diamond to apply for Yale.
Mr Wainiqolo 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.

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