Daughter of Samoa garners honors

Lusia Cole became the first charter school student elected to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Thursday, beating out an Annapolis High School student and a South River High School student. 

She is the daughter of James Cole and Clara Uila Cole from Leone.  Mrs. Cole is a direct descendent of the Tuiteleleapaga clan — her great grandmother was Silia Tuiteleleapaga. Mrs. Cole is a 'local girl' and a 1991 graduate of Faasao High School.

The Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School is located in Hanover, Maryland in the Washington, D.C. area. The junior, who made her pitch to hundreds of student voters at Arundel High School, said she wants to reform the schools' discipline policies and educate the community about charter schools.

Three finalists competed for 276 votes from student representatives from the county's middle and high schools, each taking positions on school policies and budgets. Candidates also shared personal stories.

Cole, who's black and Samoan, shared her experiences hopping from one school to another, surviving her parents' divorce and a recession.

"I'm the embodiment of versatility," she said. "I've learned how to thrive under pressure."

Cole's term begins this summer, replacing Glen Burnie High School student Carolyn Williams. Cole needs a formal appointment from the governor before becoming the 44th student member of the school board.

Students at the election said they supported candidates for their public statements, confidence and public presence. Many looked for candidates who could understand their life and struggles. Others said they wished they could hear about more school issues that impact their lives.

Chesapeake High School students said they want clear water, a fair dress code for girls and boys, and more food options at lunch. Some said they wished more students could participate in the election and learn about local government.

Olivia Abboud, an eighth-grader at Severna Park Middle School, said she liked that Cole emphasized culture and language studies for students and raised concerns about the amount of testing at schools.

Isaiah Chance, an eighth-grade student at MacArthur Middle School, said he related to Cole more than the other candidates.

"She reminded me of myself," he said.

BACKGROUND

Lusia is her short name in school but her given name is LusiaAveolelaeosomaiilematasua. She was born Jan. 10, 2000 in Yokosuka, Japan. Both parents, James and Clara Cole are retired from the Navy. She has traveled the world in her young life and the family finally made Maryland home.

She started off in private school and had to transition to public school after her parents divorced. “It was a hard time for her as she had to experience her parents’ divorce at the tender age of 9. Through therapy and being reared in her Samoan roots, this has molded her into the person she is now,” her mother told Samoa News.

Lusia currently holds a GPA of 3.73. She is the VP for her junior class. She was chosen for the Pilot program to attend Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) where she is currently taking classes through her school. She has been approved to continue her college education this summer so when she graduates next year, she will not only receive her High School diploma but also her AA degree.

She was recently chosen from over a thousand applicants for a paid internship for National Security Agency (NSA).

She was the Junior Cherry Blossom Princess from 2014-2015 and was named the 1st DMV Ms. Tausala for 2016-2017, and Congresswoman Amata crowned her. She is very involved with volunteer work and teaches bible class, K4, at our St Josephs parish.

Her goal is to attend the Naval Academy.

Congratulations Lusia, you go girl and keep us updated on your successes!

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