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Close Up, History Day students tour Nation’s Capitol

Congressman Faleomavaega's office on Wednesday, June 13, hosted a total of 25 students and 11 chaperones (teachers, administrators and family members) from American Samoa who were in Washington, D.C. as part of 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, Manu’a, Manumalo Baptist, Pacific Horizons, South Pacific Academy, and Fa’asao-Marist.

Both groups arrived Wednesday noon for lunch at Congressman Faleomavaega’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building.  After lunch, the Congressman’s staff led the combined group to the House Committee on Natural Resources Hearing Room in the Longworth Building where the students and chaperones took their places in the committee members’ seats and engaged in Q&A with the Congressman’s staff covering a wide range of topics including the role of Territorial delegates and American Samoa’s political status to name a couple.  Faleomavaega is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources which has jurisdiction over issues involving the insular areas.  Faleomavaega is also a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where he is the third most senior Democrat in the full committee and the Ranking Democrat in the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Faleomavaega’s staff then took the group on a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol, visiting Emancipation Hall, the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Rotunda, and Statuary Hall.  The group then gathered for a photo opportunity on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.  As the Close Up students parted ways for an afternoon meeting at the U.S. Senate, the National History Day group continued to tour the Capitol, visiting the House Floor, with members of the Congressman’s staff. 

“I would like to extend my congratulations to all of our students who visited our nation’s capital for the Close Up and National History Day programs this year.  While I was unable to meet with our students in person due to my participation in the 2012 Pacific Debate sponsored by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy held in Vanuatu, I am proud of all of our students’ participation in these enriching educational programs in Washington, D.C. and I thank them for representing American Samoa admirably,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.

 “I also thank all of our teachers, administrators, and family members who accompanied the students as chaperones and advisors on their trip.  The support of educational mentors and family members is crucial to our students’ success as they take this experience back to American Samoa,” the Congressman added.

“Unfortunately this year, the Close Up Foundation scheduled the American Samoa students’ visit to Washington, D.C. while the House was in recess.  As I mentioned in a recent letter to the Department of Interior, who funds the Close Up, I believe that every effort should be made to ensure that our students are able to see Congress in action and that can only be achieved when they come to Washington while the House is in session.  It is my hope that Close Up Foundation will consider my request and be able to accommodate our students in the future.”

 “Nevertheless, I want to thank the staff of both the Close Up and National History Day programs for hosting our students and for allowing our office to be a part of their unique experience in Washington,” Faleomavaega concluded.

The following is a list of students and chaperones that visited the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office.

Close Up


•                Alice Florentine Tauiliili(Leone)

•                Allison Fitisone (Tafuna)

•                Bernadine Ott (Manumalo Baptist)

•                Brenda M. Tac-An (Tafuna)

•                James C.M. Cayanan (Tafuna)

•                Kirstan Leauma Foster Lin (Pacific Horizons)

•                Lelaleleiolemotuosalaia Puaina (Leone)

•                Marcella Fitsone (Tafuna)

•                Matavaitofaga Geraldine Moi (Leone)

•                Mellody Ah-Lam Parungo (Faga’itua)

•                Patrick Dan Wang (Faga’itua)

•                Ronnie Mase (Samoana)

•                Shardonae Nua (Tafuna)

•                Suluama Fa’aiuaso (Samoana)

•                Tafatafa Sataua (Samoana)

•                Talalelei Mata (Manu’a)

•                Valelia Sefo (Nu’uuli Voc Tech)

•                Eleni Dorothy Fanene (Faga’itua)

•                Keniseli Mote Tupuola (Tafuna)

•                Mariana Pato (Samoana)

•                Seiamoeimaugasalafai Scanlon (Leone)

•                Teachers:

•                Dorian Salave’a (Leone)

•                Brenda Aisoli(Samoana)

•                John Maiava (Tafuna)

National History Day



•                Megan Leap (South Pacific Academy)

•                Karly Butler (South Pacific Academy)

•                Celestine Shalhout (South Pacific Academy)

•                Joseph Langkilde (Fa’asao-Marist)


Chaperones and Family:

•                Taua Niualama Taifane (American Samoa Humanities Council)

•                Khoa Tran (Teacher, Fa’asao-Marist)

•                George Leap (Parent)

•                Kathy Werner-Leap (Parent)

•                Sherry Butler (Parent)

•                Gwen Langkilde (Parent)

•                Gabby Langkilde (Sibling)

•                Elvis Patea (Parent)

Source: Faleomavaega's office media release