The United States Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, and so The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) honors Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as part of Constitution Week.
From Sept. 12-24, 2016, more than 38,000 new citizens participated in 240 naturalization ceremonies across the nation, and at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus, 122 new American citizens took the oath of allegiance at their Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 16.
The Hon. Elizabeth A. Kovachevich, United States District Judge of the Middle District of Florida, led the new American Citizens, representing 32 countries, through their Oath as family and friends proudly witnessed.
SPC student Pa Yang gave an emotional opening address, speaking about her family traveling from Laos to make the U.S. their new home.
“I know you’ve worked hard and accomplished so much to be here today,” said Yang. “I’m proud of all of you who are in front me today. I congratulate you all on behalf of St. Petersburg College and to you I say, ‘Welcome home!’”
“I work directly with veterans who fought for our freedom and understand the value of our liberties,” said Anchor. “I get to witness people who also had to go through a life-changing process and now can enjoy the same liberties we value. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Music Education student Kodey Beard sang the national anthem and “God Bless America”.
“I never thought I would witness this day, but I’m really glad I had the opportunity,” said Beard.
The 122 new citizens came from the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Following the ceremony, Donald Jarrell, Community Relations Officer for the United States Citizenship Immigration Services, held an information session in the ES building about the process of becoming a United States Citizen.