Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he spent Easter Sunday with the Close Up students and teachers from American Samoa in Washington, DC. A total of 26 students from the high schools of Leone, Samoana, Faga’itua, Tafuna, Nu’uuli Vocational Tech, and Manu’a and four advisors are in Washington, DC for the annual civic educational program sponsored by the Close Up Foundation.
The Close Up program offers students from throughout the United States and U.S. territories a "close up" experience in government. It provides them the opportunity to learn about how the political process works, hence increasing their awareness of major national and international issues, and motivates them to become actively involved in the world around them.
“It was so wonderful spending time with our students and teachers from American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said. “Our day started early in the morning with an Easter service at our Samoan community church at Fort Myer which is next to the Pentagon and the Arlington National Cemetery. During the service, our Close Up group sang one of our all time Samoan favorites, Faafetai i le Atua. Following the worship service, everyone was treated to a terrific lunch hosted by our Samoan congregation.”
“The rest of our day was spent on Capitol Hill where we visited my office, the meeting room for the House Committee on Resources, and the Capitol,” Faleomavaega continued. “With each Close Up group that visits every year, I always make sure to take them to the Resources Committee and the House chamber in the Capitol. The House Committee on Resources, of which I am a member, has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to the insular areas including American Samoa and the other U.S. territories.”
“Our day ended with a tour of the Capitol where we visited the House chamber, the Capitol rotunda, and the National Statuary hall, before we gathered for a final photo on the steps of the Capitol. In the House chamber, the students and teachers sat in the same seats the Members of Congress sit. I discussed with them the protocols and procedures practiced by Members on the House floor and gave a brief history of the chamber. Our Close Up students and teachers also experienced the setting where the President of the United States delivers the State of the Union address each year.”
“Every year, I make a special effort to be in Washington, DC to greet our Close Up students and teachers. Because of scheduling and other considerations by the Close Up Foundation and our ASG-Department of Education, the American Samoa Close Up group during the last few years has been arriving while Congress is in recess. This makes it difficult for our students and teachers to be able to fully experience how Congress functions when in session.”
“This year’s Close Up group is led by Mr. Li’a Amisone, Coordinator for Close Up at the Department of Education, and three high school teachers, Pepine Lauvao (Samoana), Roxanne Salave’a (Faga’itua), and Beauty Tuiasosopo (Tafuna)
“At this time, I want to thank Pastor Sui Meki To’alepai and members of our Samoan community church at Fort Myer-Washington, DC for the wonderful Easter service and luncheon. Our Samoan church community has continued to provide a tremendous service for our Samoan people by hosting the many visiting dignitaries and groups from our islands and throughout the United States,” the Congressman concluded.
Photo 1: Faleomavaega and the Close Up group on the steps of the Capitol
Photo 2: Faleomavaega in his office with Pepine Lauvao, Roxanne Salave’a, Beauty Tuiasosopo, and Li’a Amisone
Photos: Solomona Aoelua