Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he was pleased to host a total of 22 students and 14 chaperones (teachers, advisors/administrators and parents) from American Samoa who visited Washington, D.C. this week for the Close Up and National History Day programs. This year’s groups represented the high schools of Tafuna, Faga’itua, Leone, Nu’uuli Polytechnic, Samoana, South Pacific Academy, Manu’a, Iakina Adventist Academy, and Tafuna Elementary.
The Close Up group arrived Wednesday morning for discussion and lunch at the Congressman’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building. They were later joined by the National History Day group. During the discussion, the students asked a variety of questions regarding local issues in American Samoa such as tourism, healthcare, and the economy as well as the role of federal government, the national financial crisis, and the exchanging of ideas across the generation gap.
After discussion and lunch in the Congressman’s office, Faleomavaega, along with his wife Hinanui, his daughter Leonne, and her husband and NFL player with the Cincinnati Bengals Fui Vakapuna, led the combined group to the House Committee on Natural Resources meeting room in the Longworth Building, where the students and chaperones took their places in the committee members’ seats and continued their discussion about the role of congressional committees in shaping national policy. Faleomavaega is one of the senior members of the House Committee on Natural Resources which has jurisdiction over issues involving the insular areas.
The Congressman then led the students and chaperones on a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol. They visited the House Chamber where they observed from the House Gallery live debate and floor statements by members of Congress. The group then gathered for a photo opportunity with the Congressman on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where they sang a few Samoan songs and met other members of Congress including Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). As the Close Up students parted ways for an afternoon meeting with Close Up students from the other Insular areas, the National History Day group continued to tour the Capitol with members of the Congressman’s staff.
“First of all, I would like to thank our Close Up and National History Day students for spending the day with my office in Washington, D.C. I was very impressed by their intriguing questions and eagerness to learn and participate in the democratic process and contribute to their community. I am delighted to see our future leaders gaining experience and exposure to the federal government system and sharing their ideas,” the Congressman stated.
“I would also like to thank the teachers, administrators, and parents who accompanied the students as chaperones and advisors on their trip. Much of a student’s success in their education is fostered by your unconditional support and commitment,” the Congressman added.
“Lastly, I want to thank the Close Up Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Samoa Humanities Council for their funding support for the Close Up and National History Day programs. I thank the staff of both programs for hosting our students and for allowing our office to be a part of their unique experience in Washington,” Faleomavaega concluded.
Arielle Joy Andales Regis (Leone)
Sarojni Singh (Leone)
Davicia Tautai (Leone)
Jasmine Muasau (Samoana)
Fululele Neria (Samoana)
Tiaina Taliu (Samoana)
Zimmerman Enosa (Faga’itua)
Sinaumea Vaiau (Faga’itua)
Meaalofa Leite (Tafuna)
John Ludgate (Tafuna)
Cory Sene (Tafuna)
Darien Tauiliili (Tafuna)
Tiara Williams (Tafuna)
Vatauomalotetele Fanene (Nu’uuli Voc Tech)
Tinetali Filoiali’i (Manu’a)
Ioane Gabriel Tuiteleleapaga (South Pacific Academy)
Naphtaliah Reed (Iakina Adventist Academy)
- Seleni Naiuli (Faga’itua)
- Beauty Tuiasosopo (Tafuna)
- Chris Punipuao Peko (Nu’uuli Voc Tech)
- Donald Mataese (Manu’a)
National History Day
- Tyrone Travers (Faga’itua)
- Tasiaeafe Gutu (Faga’itua)
- Miracle Esekia (Faga’itua)
- Akash Sivakumar (South Pacific Academy)
5. Charu Joserose (Tafuna Elementary)
- Faugagana Fagaava (Faga’itua)
- Tutuila Manase (Tafuna Elementary)
- Leetha Faoa (Tafuna HS)
- Sa'ofetalai Aikala-Faulkner (South Pacific Academy)
- Nofo Te'o-Utu (American Samoa Humanities Council)
- Vili L. Utu
- Mr. Sivakumar
- Mrs. Sivakumar
- Mr. Joserose
- Mrs. Joserose