U.S. Embassy’s English Language Program Celebrates Inaugural Graduation of 24 Local Students

U.S Embassy’s CDA Tony Greubel making his opening remarks at the inaugural graduation of Fiji’s Access Students.

Suva – Today U.S. Embassy Charge d’affaires (CDA) Tony Greubel congratulated the first 24 graduates of the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access Program) in Fiji during a virtual graduation ceremony.

The Access Program is a United States Government-funded initiative that provides two years of intensive English language and leadership skills training to disadvantaged youth. The training equips participants with the skills necessary to compete for better academic and professional opportunities. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 150,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the Access Program.

NGO Vision Fiji implemented the South Pacific’s first ever English Access Microscholarship Program in Fiji through a FJ$70,328 (US$32,409) grant. This pilot program enrolled 24 youth from the Wakanisila community near Suva for two years.

CDA Greubel praised the first graduating class for their perseverance and hard work over the past two years.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, your commitment to continuing your learning is commendable. In these unprecedented times, I also want to acknowledge the support and commitment of our implementing partner Vision Fiji, as well the Community leaders of Wakanisila, the Kalabu Primary School and the Access Teachers, for their role in making today’s graduation a reality.”

To ensure the program complied with COVID-19 safety protocols, Regional Public Affairs Officer Stephanie Fitzmaurice, together with Vision Fiji representatives, presented Access graduates with their certificates in a drive-by graduation parade. The “on-the-move” ceremony enabled the team to drop off graduation certificates at each student’s residence, with families present to witness the momentous occasion. Each student also received a gift pack with reading resources and materials, along with small food baskets to assist their families and community.