SCHOOL IN MAINE, USA DONATES TO AMERICAN SAMOA PARK

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 10, 1998 - Samoa News)---A recent magazine article on the National Park of American Samoa has unexpectedly yielded an unsolicited and unconditional donation of $2,412 from the students of Wiscasset Primary School in Wiscasset, Maine.

The article was written by Park Superintendent Chris Stein and was published by the Bat Conservation International's magazine "Bats" in its Winter 1997 issue.

Stein's article had described the park as being a protective haven for the territory's flying foxes, among other things.

According to the letter that accompanied the check, students from grade one to grade four had all pitched in to raise the donated funds by selling Earth Day T-shirts throughout their town in rural Maine.

"We are so impressed with the students' gesture, that they would latch on to something in American Samoa. It left us humbled and speechless," Stein told Samoa News. "It is really admirable of them to think and to decide that our park needed their help.

"I have been to that area of Maine and Wiscasset is a blue-collar community," Stein said. "Economically, it is not a hopping place. A major source of employment for the town is a nuclear power plant that is going to be shut down later this year."

Stein has personally called the teacher who was the advisor to the fund-raising project and asked that all the participating students be thanked on behalf of the National Park staff and the people of American Samoa.

A formal letter to the school will soon follow, said the local park superintendent.

Stein and his staff have not yet decided on how to use the money, knowing that it came without any strings attached. However, they do have some ideas in mind, which Stein declined to reveal them at this time.

"Even though the letter says that most of them will never get to come out this way, I believe in my heart that at least one of those students will eventually come by our way somewhere in time," Stein added.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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