The Opportunity Scholars Program celebrated this year’s graduates with a festive and emotional gathering of family, friends and faculty and staff from the David Eccles School of Business. There were a lot of tears, many laughs, and a celebratory “haka” dance to top it all off.

Dedicated to providing scholarships and support–academic, professional and emotional–to first-generation college students at the business school, the Opportunity Scholars are an impressive bunch every year. And the stories the graduates tell at the annual year-end party and luau are always full of incredible life journeys, with many students explaining to the those who are following behind them just how much the program led by Rich Kaufusi helped them earn their degrees.

This year’s class of Opportunity Scholars graduates is no different. Students who a few years before couldn’t imagine going to college–let alone graduating–regaled the room with inspiring stories of exciting new jobs about to start, and obstacles overcome during their years at the U, and before.

“This program has been a miracle for me,” said Anfissa Silva, graduating this year in Accounting and heading to graduate school. Silva described meeting former Opportunity Scholar and current program board member Christine Whipple when Silva was waiting tables. Whipple told her about Opportunity Scholars, and it changed eve