(MEDIA RELEASE—Washington D.C.) – Congressman Faleomavaega, Wednesday, Nov. 14, hosted participants from the Boys and Girls Club of American Samoa (BGCAS) who were in Washington, D.C. as part of a partnership program with the Close Up Foundation. The group includes 10 students grade seven through high school and three chaperones.
The 10 students from American Samoa joined approximately 200 students representing over 20 Boys and Girls Clubs from across the nation during this week’s program with Close Up in the nation’s capitol. The program is a national partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Close Up that serves military connected youth who participate in Boys and Girls Clubs. Each participating student must either have a parent in the military or a military sponsor.
“In August 2012, under the leadership of American Samoa’s First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono, the Boys and Girls Club of American Samoa opened, joining over 3,900 Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States,” said Faleomavaega. “For her remarkable leadership, I also want to express my deep gratitude to the First Lady and her staff for the extraordinary success they have achieved in such a short time.”
The group arrived for their meeting with the Congressman Wednesday morning, followed by lunch and a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Gathered in the Congressman’s office the students shared their educational interests and plans for the future. They asked the Congressman many questions on topics ranging from the recent election in American Samoa to the responsibilities of Members of Congress.
After lunch, the Congressman personally led the group to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives where the students took their seats in the House Gallery where they observed the Members deliberate on the House Floor. The group’s visit coincided with the presentation of two floor statements offered by Congressman Faleomavaega before the House, including his statement in support of his original bill, H.R. 5934, the Stop Tobacco Smuggling in the Territories Act of 2012 which coincidentally passed the House today as well as his statement in support of H.R. 6116, a bill authored by U.S. Virgin Island’s Representative, Congresswoman Donna Christensen.
Following their Gallery visit, the Congressman and the students gathered for a photo-op on the Capitol steps where they were joined by Faleomavaega’s long-time friend and colleague, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.). The group was later led by Faleomavaega’s staff on a tour of the Capitol, including the Capitol Visitors Center, the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Rotunda, and the National Statuary Hall.
“I thank our students for their commitment to their educational success as evident by their participation in this unique program. I also thank them for representing American Samoa with the utmost excellence and for sharing their inquisitive questions and dialogue with me in my Washington office,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
“I also want to thank their chaperones, Kathryn McCutchan, Salima Eucharist Elisara Reupena and Leilua Stevenson for their support of the Boys and Girls Club mission and for their leadership and example towards our young people. Lastly I’d like to thank the Close Up Foundation for hosting the group and allowing my office to be a part of their ‘living classroom’ in Washington experience.”
The following is a list of students and chaperones who visited the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office.