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Leone High School takes First Place in 27th Speech Fest

The Department of Education held its 27th Annual Secondary Speech Festival on Thursday this week at Tafuna High School, and from early morning till late in the afternoon, the campus was buzzing with students participating from 10 of the 12 high schools of the territory. Manua and Manumalo High Schools did not compete this year, with Manu’a students seriously disappointed due to lack of transportation to bring them to the yearly competition.


The energy and excitement of the event was immediately apparent, said one judge, after walking through the Warrior campus early in the day.  Students in costumes awaiting their turn to shine, prop builders and set designers putting elaborate sets together, anxious parents giving last minute pep talks, coaches, judges and friends were all there to celebrate the English language and literature arts. Parents and family members stated to Samoa News that it didn't matter matter if their child finished on top, just as long as they did their very best.


In her message to this year’s Speech Festival’s participants, parents and friends, the Director of the Department of Education Dr. Vaitinasa S. Hunkin-Finau said, "As students take to the stage, interpret a sonnet, or eulogize an epic hero, they have not only discovered their potential as actors, but the have also comprehended the true meaning of a poem or novel, intended by the author."


She went on to say, “May we all continue to nourish and contribute to our students' education, as one day their dreams may come true and become a reality”.


At the end of the day, Leone High School was pronounced the overall winner with 214 points.  The host school, Tafuna Warriors placed a close second at  213 and Kanana Fou came in third overall with 204 points.


American Samoa is truly a bi-lingual place, and the caliber on display each year at the Speech Festival is a testament to both the earnest effort of good teachers and the deep and abiding understanding of the English language— not an easy vernacular—which their students demonstrate each year.


It is also a showcase of remarkable talent in the dramatic arts, with oral and dramatic interpretations as nuanced as any Broadway play or Hollywood production, with all the attendant high energy.


In this year’s Speech Festival there were eight categories: Oral Interpretation: Drama; Oral Interpretation: Poetry; Original Speech; Monologue; News Reading; Musical Play; Original Script Writing; and Contemporary Choral Recitation, whose theme this year was Latin America.


The territory’s Speech Festival has been performed since 1972, and it began with just 200 students participating that inaugural year.  It reached a peak of 960 students in 2011 and 845 last year.


One thing that was also noticed at this year’s Speech Festival, was the high presence of security and law enforcement at each entrance, only allowing the performing students and their crews, or students accompanied by adults, to enter the school grounds during the festival. The Festival may not be a sports competition, but it is a competition nonetheless, and the administration chose to keep students safe, and keep the event a positive experience for everyone.


And positive it was—as it is each year—with judges making hard choices from among the many excellent entries— there was everything from musical play selections such as "Evita" and "Les Miserables" to monologues such as "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" by Tyler Perry.


Oral Interpretations of Poetry had selections as varied as "Lament in Time of War" by Sia Figiel and "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll; while other students gave dramatic interpretation of works from such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare. There were even categories for original speeches and collaborative scripts with titles like "The Child We Don't See"  and  "I Am Who I Am".


The overall winner last year was Kanana Fou High School.


Here is the Official List of the top three winners of each category and the top overall 4 winning schools:




1st            Leone (214 pts)


2nd          Tafuna (213 pts)


3rd            Kanana Fou (204 pts)





1st            South Pacific Academy: Lindsey Laupola 202 pts


2nd           Leone: Seiaemeoimau Scanlan 198 pts


3rd            Fa’asao Marist: Filomena Stowers 187 pts




1st            South Pacific Pacific Academy 176 pts


2nd          Tafuna 172 pts


3rd            Samoana 168 pts


MONOLOGUE:  (2 tied for first place)


1st            Faga’itua: Reinelda Ieremia 182 pts


1st            Samoana: Anastasia Vaitele 182 pts


2nd          Tafuna: Marietta Faatuuala 174 pts




1st            Faga’itua 215 pts


2nd          Kanana Fou 214 pts


3rd           Leone 210 pts




1st            Leone: Lei Pele 176 pts


2nd         South Pacific Academy: Lindsey Laupola 175 pts


3rd            Faga’itua: Amber Ropeti 174 pts




1st            Leone: Alisa Sao 156 pts


2nd         Faga’itua: Avemaoe Liaiga 154 pts


3rd            South Pacific Academy: Martin Park 149 pts




1st            Tafuna: Sefilina Skelton, Daniel Fereti, Gavin Seumalo, Faamasani Tupua, Keniseli Tupuola 212 pts


2nd         Samoana: Upuresa Fakava, Shao Kuo, Norman Puipui, Lusia Vaaiga, Derek Tupuola, Clarence, Filos Faumuina 211 pts


3rd            Fa’asao Marist: Ms. Sabrina’s English Class 206 pts




1st            Leone 214 pts


2nd           Tafuna 213 pts


3rd            Kanana Fou 204 pts




Samoa News would like to congratulate all the student participants, teachers, coaches, parents, judges, the host school, community supporters, business donors, staff and planning committees of DOE -OCIA and all who contributed to the tremendous success of this event. Malo and job well done!