Fourth and fifth-graders from Angus Valley Elementary School witnessed as three dozen individuals become United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony Wednesday.
The students not only watched, but welcomed them with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and a singing of "America."
"I'm an American!" Nancy Bushong from Canada told 2NEWS following the ceremony. Elizabeth Gilbert from Mexico and Lucas Han from the People's Republic of China, pronounced the same.
Jackie Mwendra from Kenya nearly sung it.
"I am a U.S. citizen!" she said. "That's exciting!"
She and the other three were just a few of the 36 sworn in Wednesday morning, ending what for many of them was a really long process.
"You have to wait and you have to wait and you have to wait," Bushong told 2NEWS. But the waiting was all worth it, and the ceremony just in time to practice her duty as a citizen.
"I am most excited to be able to vote -- especially in this election year."
Han told 2NEWS his life is changed now that he is a U.S. citizen.
"You know you can do whatever you want to do or become whatever you want to become," he said.
According to ceremony organizer Liz Lockman, others that became citizens came from Pakistan, Vietnam, Honduras, Peru, Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Malaysia, El Slavador and the Philippines.
She said it breaks a conception many have that most of those becoming U.S. Citizens are Mexicans.
Lockman told 2NEWS Wednesday's ceremony was planned two years ago when fourth grade teacher Joyce Smith contacted her and asked if it could be hosted at Angus Valley.
Every year in the area, she said, such ceremonies are held at five or six schools to provide students with an educational experience as well as to help those students help others.
“It's a great outreach program to the (new) citizens.”
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After two days of being away from their homes, authorities allowed residents back into their neighborhoods in some of the hardest hit areas, including around Briarwood Elementary.