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Leone Midkiff wins Just Play Program festival competition

“It feels good [to win]. The whole year of work has paid off, especially, I think it’s very special for my students because they worked hard for the whole year,” explained Katherine Taleni, Leone Midkiff Just Play Program’s instructor. “The Just Play Program means a lot to our school because we have students having problems with study skills, with obesity and also with bullying.
“There are a lot of social issues that they are facing and this program, it’s a gold mine for our school, because it’s helping our students slowly, but surely, in changes as we go along during the year.”
Football Federation American Samoa and DOE’s PE department planned the festival finale as a competition amongst four schools from the eight that participated in the program for the current school year.
All schools were assigned a theme from the four of the Just Play’s objectives and were judged by DOE’s Siauini Taala of the Elementary School Division, DOE PE Coordinators Valusia Talataina and Clayton Mahuka along with FFAS’ CEO Tavita Taumua and Technical Director Rupeni Luvu.
From that eight emerged the top four that competed last Friday — Leone Midkiff, A.P. Lutali elementary, Afonotele and Tafuna elementary. The other four schools that did not make it were Lupelele, Pava’ia’i, Alofau and Le’atele elementary.
All four schools were given 20 minutes to present on one topic, the first of four of Just Play’s objectives, “To increase healthy lifestyle choices and to reduce the risk factors associated with NCDs.”
FFAS Presdient Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet and DOE Deputy Director Philo Jennings were the main judges of this competition.
Leone Midkiff swept it away in all categories from participation, communication, organization of ideas and presentation, eye contact, knowledge and demonstration.
Jennings said at the end that they all presented well and hoped that they followed their own message of drinking water and not running to the store to buy chips and sodas right after.
“It was a great ending for this program,” Faiivae said. “We are looking forward to the new year with new.”
Cash awards and trophies were handed out to the four schools that made the final competition. The other four participating schools also received cash awards from FFAS.
“This has been the best year of the program since it was first introduced four years ago and thanks for that goes to the DOE, especially the Director Vaitinisa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, Netini Sene, Valusia, Clayton and all at the Elementary School Division,” said CEO Tavita Taumua. “The next school year is going to be an even bigger challenge with all 22 elementary schools plus the three in Manu’a to be included in the program.
“Our office is looking forward to that and we are starting to plan towards it from now until the start of the new school year.”
“I love this [program],” Taleni said. “This program is awesome, and I believe that all eight schools that participated are winners, because they are the advocates for Just Play and hopefully it will go out to the communities and parents and into our families.”

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