Triumph over adversity: Fulton students graduate despite challenging year

Pastor Maveni Kaufononga presented each graduate with their award and certificate (Photo courtesy of John Mikiwai).

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Despite another year of uncertainties and disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic, Fulton Adventist University College in Nadi, Fiji, held their graduation on Sunday, November 21, and saw 163 students celebrate the completion of their tertiary studies.

Graduates ranged from ministerial, business and education students to police officers and tertiary lecturers. Along with their testamurs, students received special recognition for academic excellence, service, biblical languages, public evangelism, teaching skills, entrepreneurial excellence and overall outstanding achievements.

Guest speakers for the graduation weekend were graduating class staff advisor Casper Hillary, Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga and Fiji Institute of Accountants president Pravinesh Singh.

All speakers presented a special message following the graduation’s theme “Triumph Over Adversity”, reflecting on the challenges faced by students and staff in the past year.

“We had students and staff infected with COVID, challenges as they participated in online classes and exams, the development of innovative virtual practicum experiences, coping with the uncertainties of closed borders and unknown employment opportunities as well as concerns for family and loved ones back home,” said Fulton principal Dr Malcolm Coulson. “2021 was a tough year, but we saw God’s leading in all the issues we faced.”

All celebratory events followed a carefully prepared COVID-safe plan authorised by Fijian authorities.

“We were permitted to hold graduation under strict health requirements. Those attending were fully vaccinated, screened, masked and participated in contact tracing protocols,” explained Dr Coulson.

Due to the limitations on the number of attendees, the events were livestreamed on Facebook by Hope Chanel Fiji, receiving more than 36,000 views.

“We are grateful to the TPUM for assisting Fulton with the broadcasting of the graduation program. The livestream has blessed many people who could not attend in person,” said Dr Coulson.

Each program was supported by student singing groups and speakers who shared testimonies over the course of the weekend.

“Highlights also included the graduation banquet which was catered by our very own food services manager, Mrs Raijeli Vuloaloa and team; not forgetting the amazing burgundy and gold themed outfits of the students and staff,” said Dr Coulson.

Appreciation for the work of all staff for their commitment to service under adversity was expressed on many occasions.

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