Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he recently hosted Miss Easter Fa’afiti and members of the Gallaudet University Women’s Basketball Program, congratulating Easter and her team for a record-breaking season. After a luncheon in the Members Only dining facilities, Easter and members of her group that included Co-Captain and Center Nukeitra Hayes, Head Coach Kevin Cook, Team Interpreter Chris Bahl, and public affairs staff for the Gallaudet Bison, were treated to a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
During their visit in the office, Faleomavaega presented Easter and Miss Hayes each with a gift bag of Congressional memorabilia. Easter presented the Congressman with a team sweater bearing the Bison insignia.
The 2010-11 Season was a memorable one for the Gallaudet Bison. In their first season in the National Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), the Bison began the season with 20 consecutive wins – the longest such streak in the program’s existence – including a win over No. 17 Lebanon Valley College. It was the first time in 12 years they defeated a nationally ranked team. They took the league by storm, finishing 20-2 in the conference and earning a share of the regular season championship with Keuka College. Finishing 24-4 overall, it was only the second time in the program’s 115-year history that a team reached the 24-win plateau. Though they fell to Keuka in the NEAC tournament, the Bison earned one of 20 at-large bids to the NCAA Division III tournament, marking their third-ever trip in program history.
Easter, who plays forward and center, set a high mark during her first season at Gallaudet when she earned over 12 different awards including two different All-American team awards. Described by her coaches as ‘the heart of this year’s basketball team,’ Easter earned additional numerous awards through her spirited and dominating play during the 2010-11 season, during which she averaged 20.5 points per game. Along with being named the NEAC Player of the Year and first-team selection, Easter also received the honors of Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Region Player of the Year and first-team honoree, D3Hoops.com All-American Honorable Mention, and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American Honorable Mention.
Before transferring to Gallaudet, Easter was a power forward at Pittsburg High School in Northern California and a two-time all-state selection at Pasadena Community College. Easter has achieved such a high level of success in her sport despite being hearing-impaired in both ears. She uses hearing aids and applies her great court vision in the game. Gallaudet University is the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Based in Washington, D.C., the university was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress, and its charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
Easter is the daughter of Tony Fa’afiti and Christine Tauaese-Fa’afiti, who currently reside in Pittsburgh, California. Her paternal grandparents are Saka Fa’afiti of Taputimu and Mafaufauga Malau’ulu of Nu’uuli. Her maternal grandparents are Tauaese Tiumalu of Fagatogo and Telesia Mageo of Pago Pago.
“I would like to again extend my congratulations to Easter for being a shining example for our Samoan youth in the U.S. and in American Samoa. Easter’s athletic and academic accomplishments throughout high school, community college, and now at the university-level, are truly remarkable,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
“I also congratulate the entire Gallaudet Women’s Basketball program, including Co-Captain Nukeitra Hayes and Coach Kevin Cook and his staff, for their extraordinary achievement in this past season. Last but not least, I also especially commend Easter’s parents, Tony and Christine, and all of her family members who have played a vital support role in her academic and athletic endeavors. I pray for her continued success and wish her all the best in her future,” the Congressman concluded.