Cheviot School students gave America’s newest citizens a warm welcome during a naturalization ceremony at the school.
“Cheviot School students come from all over the globe,” fifth-grade student Skyy Armstrong-Austin said to begin the ceremony. “From the Philippines, India, Morocco, Iraq and 11 other countries, our students are a diverse group with many traditions.”
Students and staff took an active role in the special celebration— singing, leading the new citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance and creating artwork as a gift for each person.
“Freedom, Oh Freedom, please stop the sacrifice. Freedom, Oh Freedom, no matter the price. I want my freedom, just like them all. So Freedom, Oh Freedom, call to me,” A’June’t Carson read from her original poem.
More than 50 new citizens from more than 30 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Spain and Vietnam, became U.S. Citizens during the ceremony, presided by U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz.
“This is an excellent opportunity for those students of various backgrounds and faiths to know that they are not just welcome here because it’s also their neighborhood school, but also in our hearts,” Principal Tammy Solomon-Gray said.
“It’s near and dear to our Cheviot heart. We have always celebrated the multicultural spirit here at Cheviot,” social studies teacher and organizer Crystal McFarland said.
The ceremony was extra special for Cheviot School paraprofessional Sanaa Hanbali who became a U.S. citizen when her daughter, fifth-grade student Aliaa Hanbali, was seven-days-old.
“It’s something big. It’s something special and I wanted my daughter to be a part of it,” Habali said.