Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that at the invitation of Congressman Ike Skelton of Missouri who is Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, he visited the American Samoan Cadets at the Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College in Lexington, Missouri on September 15. Chairman Skelton, who has been in Congress since 1977, is a Wentworth Academy graduate of 1951.
“I am honored and privileged to have been invited by Chairman Skelton to accompany him on this visit with the cadets from our homeland,” Faleomavaega said. “I had the great opportunity to personally meet and talk with all the cadets from American Samoa who are currently attending the Wentworth Military Academy and those who graduated early this year and are now continuing their education at the University of Central Missouri.”
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time we have this many students from American Samoa attending a single military school at the same time. Currently, there are 23 Samoan students at Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College. Twenty-one are high school graduates from American Samoa while two are from the U.S. Mainland.”
“The four sophomores include Danielle Monroe and Emosi Time from Leone High School, and Ruth Faatiga and Emmie Vaimauga from Faga’itua High School. They are scheduled to graduate and get their commissions in May next year.”
“The 19 who are freshmen make up about 30-percent of the total freshman class enrollment this year. They will graduate in May of 2010. They include Seuiasomalu Afoa, Siosiana Akoteu, Rasela Atonio, Esaia Faaita, Roselyn Lalaga, Aione Paea, Masela Sooalo, Tifanny Tanoa, Benjamin Tuitasi, Samantha Uhrle, and Mose Wilson from Leone High School; Talishabeth McMoore and Andrew Tiapula form Faga’itua High School; Tulifau Mauga and Jason Togi from Samoana High School; Silivelio Iosefo and Sonny Saleutogi from Tafuna High School; and Bethany Langford and Raymond Mapu from the U.S. Mainland.”
“Earlier this year, six students from our territory graduated from Wentworth Academy and were commissioned as second lieutenants. They included June Amataga and Tina Sevaaetasi from Faga’itua High School; Lincoln Moliga, Alma Taufu’a, and Seulata Tu from Tafuna High School; and Helaman Fepulea’i from Nu’uuli Polytech High School. Except for Alma Taufu’a who is attending the University of Hawaii, the rest are now attending the University of Central Missouri.”
“Given that about half of the newly commissioned officers of this year’s graduating class at Wentworth Academy were from American Samoa, I especially acknowledge and commend retired First Sergeant Ben Lausen who, while teaching in Leone High School after retiring from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service, saw great potential in his students to excel and reached out to schools like Wentworth Military Academy in 2000 for opportunities for his students.”
“At the time, Major General John Little was the commandant of Wentworth Military Academy and was a friend of Chairman Ike Skelton and since that time, as a result of Mr. Lausen’s efforts, a scholarship program was initiated which has allowed dozens of high school graduates from American Samoa to pursue higher education and commissions as military officers at Wentworth Military Academy.”
“I was very impressed by the caliber of our students and the quality of the education offered at Wentworth Military Academy. I was also encouraged by the positive feedback I received from Captain J. Basil Read, III, USN (Ret.) who is President and Superintendant of Wentworth Military Academy, and other members of his staff and faculty about the Samoan cadets.”
“Above all, I am proud of our Samoan students at Wentworth Academy and I congratulate all of them, current and past, for their determination in furthering their education and achieving their military commissions. I also congratulate all of the parents for their strong support, and I thank Chairman Skelton for acknowledging the tremendous accomplishments of our students on the House Floor in May of this year during consideration of H. Res. 1153, Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month,” Faleomavaega concluded.