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Leone Midkiff top festival competiton

“It feels good to win.” are the first words Leone Midkiff Just Play instructor Katherine Taleni says.
“The whole year of work has paid off especially, and I think it’s very special for my students because they worked hard for the whole year.”
Just Play is a sports for development programme and highlighting social issues via sporting situations, in this case football, is the key messaging which Taleni says is what makes it an ideal programme for her students.
“The Just Play Programme means a lot to our school because we have students having problems with study skills, with obesity and also with bullying,” she explains.
“There are a lot of social issues that they are facing and this programme, it’s a gold mine for our school because it’s helping our students slowly, but surely, to develop as we go along during the year.”
Football Federation American Samoa and the Department of Education’s (DOE) PE department planned the festival finale as a competition among four schools from the eight that participated in the programme during the 2014-15 school year.
All schools were assigned a theme from the four Just Play objectives and were judged by Siauini Taala of the DOE Elementary School Division, DOE PE coordinators Valusia Talataina and Clayton Mahuka along with FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua and technical director Rupeni Luvu.
From the eight original participating teams four were chosen to compete in the festival on Friday 15 May; Leone Midkiff, A.P. Lutali Elementary, Afonotele and Tafuna Elementary.
Each of the four schools were given 20 minutes to present on one topic – To increase healthy lifestyle choices and to reduce the risk factors associated with NCDs.
FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet and DOE deputy director Philo Jennings were appointed to judge the competition.
Leone Midkiff swept the competition out of their way as they took out each of the catagories from participation, communication, organisation of ideas and presentation to eye contact and demonstration of knowledge.
“It was a great ending for this programme,” Godinet said.
“We are looking forward to the new year and what next year’s participants will bring.”
FFAS CEO Taumua says this year has been the best year of the programme since it was introduced to the country four years ago.
“The next school year is going to be even bigger with all 22 elementary schoolls plus the three in Manu’a to be included in the programme,” he explains.
“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.”
Developed by the OFC Social Responsibility and Technical departments, Just Play is designed for children aged six to 12 and promotes physical activity while encouraging community involvement, healthy living, gender equality and disability development.
OFC has worked closely with UEFA, the Australian Government – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – Football Federation Australia and UNICEF to implement the programme across the Pacific. It was launched in Tonga and is now also running in American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
For more on American Samoa football visit www.ffas.as.
For more on Just Play programme, visit www.justplayofc.org.

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