I surprised myself when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. I assumed I’d be weepy because my ninety-year-old grandparents, fifty plus relatives/friends, parents and sisters had traveled all the way to Boston to share that walk with me. But I didn’t weep. I took in the joy. The support of hundreds of people who had made that moment possible became so real that I couldn’t help but lift my hands in triumph. My Harvard diploma is not mine, it belongs to my Glendale neighborhood, the Tongan diaspora, Niua, and in many ways to my grandparents, parents, and sisters. I was just the vessel walking across the stage.
Moana ‘Ulu’ave graduated from Harvard University. There, she earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education. She is also a recipient of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award.
To read more about Moana’s commitment to her Tongan American community and her educational experiences, check out her interview with HGSE here.