GlenOak hosts naturalization ceremony

GlenOak hosts naturalization ceremony

A naturalization ceremony was held on October 13 in the high school’s theater, where 26 people from 15 countries become official U.S. citizens.

Organized by AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Ryan Foltz, this was the second year a naturalization ceremony has taken place in the high school, thanks to the cooperation of Court of Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione.

“Judge Forchione and I worked together to hold it here to get our students and our new citizens to share this special day together,” Foltz said. “The Court was totally on board to have it here instead of the courthouse. We are the only Stark County school to have it.”

Citizen applicants must go through a rigorous process to become citizens, including interviews, background checks and numerous forms and documents.

The lengthy process culminates in a naturalization ceremony, where the new citizens are supported by their friends and family on the day full of beginnings.

Students had the opportunity to attend the naturalization ceremony as witnesses to the moving ceremony. Select students were also chosen to volunteer and work the event, pinning USA-themed boutonnieres on the new citizens and assisting them with the proceedings.

At 26 people, this group of new citizens was unusually large for the ceremony held about every two months in Stark County. Last year, there was only six new citizens during our ceremony.

Student attendance at the ceremony was high, with many students saying they enjoyed the ceremony last year so much they made sure to attend this year’s.

“[Students receive the benefits of hosting a naturalization ceremony at the school by getting to] witness how much it means to our new citizens, see how the ceremony is conducted, and ask Judge Forchione questions after the ceremony,” Foltz said.

The new citizens were also given the opportunity to say a few words at the end of the ceremony, with many thanking their families for supporting them but also addressing comments to the students; they heavily emphasized the privileges enjoyed by American citizens and urged the students to appreciate the blessings they have.