Thursday April 04, 2013
On Monday, March 25, a group of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders excitedly made their way into the Central School gymnasium to witness the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) present 30 citizenship candidates to the Vermont District Court during a special-venue naturalization ceremony. Acting Assistant Regional Director Angelia Haag presented the candidates to the Honorable John M. Conroy, U.S. Magistrate Judge for U.S. District Court - Vermont, who administered the Oath of Allegiance to America’s newest citizens.
The naturalization process takes time. One must be at least 18; be a lawful resident; have resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years; be a person of good moral character; be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language; have knowledge of U.S. government and history; and have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months. Taking the Oath marked the final step in the process of becoming U.S. citizens for these candidates, all Vermont residents, who hailed from 19 countries including: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Kenya, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
Principal Sue Luck welcomed the students, supporters, and friends to the ceremony and noted that students within the school come from 24 countries and speak over 17 languages in their homes. All rose for the presentation of the colors by the Vermont Air National Guard Base Honor Color Guard Team.
Central School’s 5th grade chorus provided a number of musical selections throughout the ceremony under the direction of music instructor Rosemary Holloway. These included the Star-Spangled Banner, The Preamble Song, God Bless the USA, and The Pledge of Allegiance set to music.
After the candidates recited the Oath of Allegiance, each individual was called forward by Deputy Clerk Gail Greenia; some had chosen to change their names and all were received with cheers and applause from the joyful crowd who had gathered. The ceremony concluded with the retiring of the colors and refreshments courtesy of Central School. Representatives from the Vermont League of Women Voters were present to register any new citizen to vote, as well as a representative from the U.S. Passport Service for any who were interested in obtaining a passport.
USCIS naturalization ceremonies in Vermont are judicial ceremonies. With court approval, this ceremony was held at the Rick Marcotte Central School to increase public awareness of the U.S. citizenship process and to enhance the school’s curriculum.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent