Michael gets VIP welcome

Michael Lojkar, the first Marshallese to be accepted to the Air Force Academy, came to Majuro last week at the invitation of President David Kabua, who presented him with an outrigger canoe model in his honor. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

HILARY HOSIA

At the invitation of the Marshall Islands Office of the President, trailblazer Michael Lojkar met President David Kabua and high-level officials last Thursday at the International Conference Center.

Michael was recognized for being the first Marshallese to be accepted to attend the US Air Force Academy. The Ebeye teen was accompanied by parents Martin and Juanita Bolkeim Lojkar and younger brother Noinoi.

“This (visit) is a government endorsement in itself,” Education, Sports and Training Minister and Kwajalein Parliament Member Kitlang Kabua said during the official meet and greet at the Cabinet Conference Room.

President Kabua said he was surprised when Minister Kitlang broke the news of Michael’s acceptance to the AFA, citing a recent front-page article on the Kwajalein Hourglass. The president called Michael a history maker and congratulated the teen on his achievement.

The president also shared how he watched and admired Michael’s recent graduation ceremony from Kwajalein Jr/Sr High School at the US Army Garrison–Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA) on Youtube, and added how unique each individual graduate was highlighted on a huge screen while they received their diploma and read their achievements.

“It’s time for your young generation to take over us oldies,” Kabua joked.

“I thought I was alone in this,” Michael said. “This solidifies that I have support from my country,” he added.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Casten Nemra and Health and Human Services Minister Bruce Bilimon joined in on the meeting and offered their congratulatory remarks.

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