Congressman Faleomavaega today offered his congratulations to American Samoa’s 2012 Territorial Spelling Bee winner Rita Shania Jennings who competed in the National Scripps Spelling Bee this week with hundreds of contestants at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Rita made it to Round 3 of the competition, correctly spelling the words qwerty and kirtle. Though she did not advance to the semifinals, she is motivated to continue her pursuit in next year’s Territorial and National competitions.
A 7th grader at Lauli’i Elementary School, Rita trained for the contest with the help of her spelling coach, Mrs. Gingerlei Maga-Uili who travelled with her to the national competition. Rita’s mother, Epenesa Jennings, and older sister, Rachel Jennings who is a teacher at Samoana High School, also joined in the trip.
Rita is the daughter of Philo Jennings, Jr. and Epenesa Jennings of Lauli’i, American Samoa. Born and raised in American Samoa, she is the third consecutive student from Lauli’i Elementary to win the local competition. Her sponsors were Samoa News and Hawaiian Airlines.
After the competition, the group visited Congressman Faleomavaega’s Washington D.C. office where they met with staff and given a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to Rita for her achievement as our Territorial Spelling Bee winner and I thank her for representing American Samoa with excellence at this year’s National Scripps Spelling Bee. While I was unable to congratulate Rita in person due to my participation in the U.S. Presidential Delegation to Samoa’s 50th Independence Celebration in Apia, I am proud of her outstanding achievement. As part of this unique experience, Rita has joined an elite group of intelligent and highly motivated students from across the nation and has represented American Samoa well,” 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 and I am thankful that Rita was able to benefit from partaking in this prestigious contest.”
“I am proud of Rita’s achievement and I also would like to commend and thank her parents, family members, teachers, and spelling bee coach who have supported her path to the National Scripps Spelling Bee. I pray for her continued success and her future educational pursuits,” the Congressman concluded.