Opportunity Scholars celebrate graduates at luau

“Sometimes, it’s the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

The Opportunity Scholars program at the Eccles School is in the business of imagination. The program supports first-generation college students — students whose immediate family didn’t attend college. Many of the students come from under-represented populations. These journeys make celebrations all the more special.

And quite the celebration it was.

After brief remarks from Program Director Rich Kaufusi, each of the graduating Opportunity Scholars spoke from the heart about their experience. Many faced adversity, including dealing with poverty in their background, balancing work and school, and other challenges, but each story ended with a positive note — the student persevering and graduating on Friday.

The formal part of the event ended with an awesome video about a current Opportunity Scholar, Sala Tuita, who will in the next few years have her own moment to speak about graduating.

Then the fun started.

The school catered a giant Hawaiian feast for the students and their families and friends. As the meal started, a troupe of dancers performed several traditional island styles of dance, providing examples from Tahiti to Tonga to Hawaii and more.

The festivities ramped up with a dance contest from the students wearing Hawaiian shirts and even a Michael Jackson impersonation. It was a party that was hard to imagine at a business school, but that’s just how great the Opportunity Scholars program is.

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