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When the 2013 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony takes place in Washington DC on Friday, December 6, two dozen ornaments prepared by American Samoa high school students will be on display.


The National Christmas Tree display will be at President’s Park in the nation’s capitol and students from five public high schools in the territory joined local artists and youth from each of the US states, territories and the District of Columbia who were selected to design and create 24 ornaments for their respective state or territory’s tree.


“It is an honor to be selected again this year,” said Don Hoffman, art coordinator for the local Department of Education. “We are excited to be a part of the National Christmas Tree display because this is a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their creativity and talents at this special time of year.”


Samoana High School art teacher Voloti Malietoa, who oversaw the work of eight Sharks in creating four of the ornaments told Samoa News that the ornaments created by local students should be celebrated and recognized “because this is a big deal”.


Malietoa emphasized the importance of featuring the work of the territory’s young artists on such a grand stage, saying the opportunity is both an honor and pleasure.


“These students’ ornaments will be featured alongside others prepared by students from all over the country and it is indeed something that deserves credit. Our local students worked very hard to get these ornaments ready and sent off to Washington DC and they should be commended for their work,” he added.


According to Hoffman, local students worked with a variety of found items, local flora, and cultural and contemporary items to create their ornaments. Leone, Samoana, Fagaitua, Manu’a and Nu’uuli VocTech High Schools all contributed to the ornament collection, which has already been sent off and has arrived safely in DC.


“These globes express our culture and environment as well as the spirit of the season,” Hoffman said.


“We are very pleased that these high school art students will represent American Samoa in this year’s National Christmas Tree display,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “This time honored tradition is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.


Holiday events in President’s Park will last four weeks beginning with the 91st National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.


Student artists include: Talaluma Moea’I, Jennet Chang, Judyann Fagalilo, Roseanne Hall, Nona Tui, Christian Seafa, Miti Hemaloto, Evelyn Amezcua, Tulaga Leota, Margaret LamYuen, Faleu Peseta, Athena Afe, Faasega Migi, Shaleen Niesoni, Cherish Pereira, Simeona Leo, Emerson Stowers, Dierdre Tyrell, Abeiene Leama, Repena Aitaota




The National Christmas Tree Lighting is one of America’s oldest holiday traditions which began on Christmas Eve 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park.


Since then, each succeeding President has continued the tradition of what has become a month-long event. In addition to the National Christmas Tree display, President’s Park will also host other family-oriented holiday attractions including Santa’s Workshop, nightly holiday performances, a Yule log, model train display, and a nativity scene.


Samoa News will be featuring photos of the ornaments from now until Christmas.