Highland Rambler

The student news site of Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

The Fonua Twins Are Finishing A Legacy

Ten Siblings Graduate Over Two Decades
Lien Hoa Torres
Vee Fonua runs the ball as Brighton players attempt to tackle him.

It has taken two decades, 10 teenagers, and a lot of sleepless nights, stress-filled talks, and time, but Angie Fonua has finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel as her last kids prepare to graduate.
Her two youngest children, twins Tonga (Afi) and Tevita (Vee) are graduating from Highland, ending a run of Fonuas that stretches over the past 20 years.
And she could not be more relieved.
It’s bittersweet to see them finish up their high school journey but she’s ready for them to take the next step and continue with their lives.
“It’s an accomplishment for me as a mom. I’m excited for them to be done, being the last of ten, but I’m also sad at the same time,” Angie said. “I think more than anything, I’m just excited knowing that I’ve done all I could and supported all of my kids to at the very least finish high school.”

Afi Fonua strips the ball in Highland’s rugby game vs Brighton. (Lien Hoa Torres)

Out of the ten, the kids played almost every sport at Highland including volleyball, softball, rugby, football, tennis, basketball and more. And Angie was there for it all, cheering her kids on from the stands and encouraging them to be the best they could be.
Angie is the Sophomore Youth Advocate at Highland and has been in the position for many years. Being in this role meant she was very involved in the twins’ high school educations. She was able to keep a close eye on her kids, allowing her to uplift them and give them extra motivation through her support.
“I’m sure going to miss seeing them play together,” Angie said. “I just have a lot of emotions; I reminisce on watching them play sports through the school or anything they do through the school so I’m going to miss seeing them at that level.”
With the twins graduating this May, they look back on their time at Highland. Having been so involved in the community and sports teams, their experience was packed with many adventure filled memories.
The twins have grown up playing Highland sports. They started off playing with the little league football and rugby teams and continued playing in high school. Vee stopped playing football after his sophomore year, but Afi finished up his fourth and final season last fall.
As for rugby, both twins have a love for the sport and played through their senior year, taking every chance they could get. With rugby being a very demanding sport. Both physically and mentally, the twins knew it wouldn’t be easy for the team to get where they wanted to be, but they were all willing to put in the work. In 2022, the work paid off and they won the state championship.
“We were just underdogs that whole year and this school didn’t even support us, and we still took the championship,” Vee said.
Rugby doesn’t get as much support from the study body as other sports like football, basketball, or lacrosse because they’re not a school sanctioned team. Even after winning the championship, there was still a lack of acknowledgement from the school. Not many people showed up for their games and lots of people still don’t. There are supportive families that cheer them on but it’s not the same as having an entire student section there for them.
“Look they want to hang up the championship banner right there (in the cafeteria) and they weren’t there for it,” Afi said.
Despite the lack of support, the Highland Rugby Team continues to show their dedication. In 2023, they were able to go to a professional facility in California and play in different matches. They also were invited to play in a tournament in St. George that same year and these different events allowed for the team to get even closer.
However, this year was slightly different, their commitment was the same, but the program changed. Highland has always been a single-school club team but this year, they became a multi-school team, putting them in a different bracket. This change meant the team could now have players from different schools join whereas in the past they had to attend Highland. While it was an adjustment, the team still performed well.
In March, they beat Brighton for the second year in a row. In 2023, they beat Brighton on their senior night, a game they went into as underdogs considering Brighton had a better record, home field advantage, and extra added support from their fans. Highland won by such a landslide that even sone JV players got some playing time near the end.
This year’s game wasn’t on Brighton’s senior night, but it was very similar; they were still going in as underdogs. However, Highland locked in and beat them once again on Brighton’s home field. This showed that the bond between those boys is like no other.
The Highland rugby team will miss Afi and Vee but the impact they made on the program and the school was like no other. Their legacy of being strong focused athletes will live on even after they graduate.

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