This article originally appeared in the Harvard Gazette.
Many students come from great distances to learn at Harvard, but few have traversed such disparate worlds as Moana ′Ulu′ave. You might even say her journeys would make a fantastic story.
Born to parents and grandparents from the South Pacific island nation of Tonga, ′Ulu′ave, 26, grew up among the frosty peaks of Salt Lake City, Utah, where her family settled in 1986 to find better economic and educational opportunities and to be close to the spiritual heart of their Mormon faith.
Her grandfather once farmed taro and manioc (cassava) roots; her mother, Losaline, works at a book bindery; her father, Alama, was until recently a maintenance worker at the University of Utah. All set high expectations for ′Ulu′ave and her five sisters.
“He used to drive us around and point out the law school and the medical school and say, ‘One day you’re going to come here,’” said ′Ulu′ave, a spoken-word storyteller and writer in the Arts in Education program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, who is receiving her master’s degree. “I always thought it was strange that he didn’t have that dream for himself.” ...
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