Congressman Faleomavaega today offered his congratulations to American Samoa’s 2013 Territorial Spelling Bee winner Tauloto Punipuao Tuiolemotu who is competing this week in the National Scripps Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Congressman Faleomavaega met today with Tauloto and her spelling coach, Maria Theresa Barja, in his Washington, D.C. office where he offered his personal congratulations to the champion speller on her historic accomplishment as the first ever Territorial Spelling Bee winner from Leone Midkiff Elementary School in the 19 year history of the program in the Territory. The Congressman’s staff then led the pair on a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building.
Tauloto is the daughter of Tafale and Si’u Tuiolemotu of Malaeloa, American Samoa. An 8th grader at Leone Midkiff Elementary School, Tauloto and Coach Barja, prepared for the Territorial Spelling Bee by studying a list of 500 words and competing against 31 other students ranging from 3rd to 8th grade. While she came in 9th place last year, Tauloto won this year’s Territorial Spelling Bee by spelling the word reprehensible.
For the National Scripps Spelling Bee, Tauloto will be competing against 281 spellers from the States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, South Korea as well as Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe. She is studying a list of over 2,000 words, with some rounds open to words from the entire dictionary. An added challenge of this year’s competition is that contestants will also have to know the definitions of some of the words they have been memorizing. For the first time, a vocabulary test will also be added.
“I am pleased to have been able to meet Tauloto today to congratulate her personally and I thank her and Coach Barja for taking the time to visit my Washington, D.C. office. I thank Tauloto for representing American Samoa in such a prestigious competition and I am grateful that she will be able to benefit from this unique experience in our nation’s capital,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
“The purpose of the National Scripps Spelling Bee is ‘to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.’ I am thankful that Tauloto is building upon all of these skills and I am confident that she will meet the added challenges that are part of this year’s competition.”
“Once again, I extend my sincere congratulations to Tauloto for her historic feat in winning this year’s Territorial Spelling Bee. I commend her parents and family members for their support as well as her teachers, especially Coach Barja. I pray for her success in this year’s National Scripps Spelling Bee and in all of her future endeavors,” the Congressman concluded.