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USO celebrates 2nd annual "Family Night"

by Tiffany Tinsley, staff writer


Family, friends, and special guests of the United Samoan Organization at HPU all “got their groove on” at this year’s “family nite” fundraiser held at Farrington High School.

The celebration got off to a start after a prayer and ritual dance from USO members, led by organization president, Lolan Laurao, and a special tribute to Heather Hubbard, HPU’s director of Student Life, who was honored for her “special efforts and time spent helping the group,” said Laurao.

Hubbard began her “thank you” speech in Samoan and then continued in English to give reasons why she thinks the USO is such an extraordinary group.

Heather Hubbard


“USO truly embodies and epitomizes the quality of students here at HPU. Time and time again I see them practicing for hours on end, being the last ones to leave campus on a daily basis,” said Hubbard.

In fact, the Samoan organization’s rehearsals are familiar to many HPU students on the downtown campus who, on their way home after night classes, and even on the weekends, have enjoyed watching club members practice their performances.

This may be one reason for the group’s success, according to Hubbard, who mentioned that USO regularly receives HPU’s annual “Most Spirited Club” award. USO has also won numerous banner challenges, and it regularly performs at pep rallies and other school events. Many HPU students used the USO’s “singing telegram performances” to send special Valentine’s Day greetings their loved ones.

All of these events to plan, practice for, and perform at can become expensive, and USO’s “family nite” fundraiser is just one of many the group uses to help them cover their annual costs.

The evening offered a variety of music, including, traditional Samoan island music, Hip-Hop, and even oldies. With kids dancing, family and friends visiting, and everyone eating, it was like a big family reunion.

USO’s secretary, Shirlene Faaola, says this was the goal of the night. “The main purpose of this event is socializing and getting to know each other. There’s a very mixed and diverse crowd, so we just want everyone to have a good time,” said Faaola.

According to the club‘s president, Laurao, USO means “Brother and Sisters at Heart,” and that’s exactly what the environment was that night. “Everyone is always talking about how fun [USO] events are and how welcoming they are,” said Isis Hartnett, an accounting major at HPU. “Even if you’re not Samoan, they encourage you to come and participate, so I have to check them out.”

The group performed a variety of dances, and door prizes were given away during the intermissions. Overall, the group raised more than $500 for the night.

This year, all proceeds of the event will go towards funding the 2nd annual Samoan Cultural Arts Competition at the Polynesian Cultural Center on May 15. USO will compete with Samoan organizations from other schools, including Chaminade, and with American Samoa Community College.



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