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 On Feb. 28, 25 people from 10 different countries took the oath of allegiance to become American citizens Feb. 28 at the Macomb Intermediate School District Educational Service Center building in Clinton Township. Students from local school districts, including Warren Woods Tower High School and Center Line High School, attended as part of their studies.

On Feb. 28, 25 people from 10 different countries took the oath of allegiance to become American citizens Feb. 28 at the Macomb Intermediate School District Educational Service Center building in Clinton Township. Students from local school districts, including Warren Woods Tower High School and Center Line High School, attended as part of their studies.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Local students learn about U.S. naturalization process, attend ceremony

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published March 24, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — When 25 new U.S. citizens took the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony Feb. 28 at the Macomb Intermediate School District Educational Service Center building, students from local high schools took notice.

The students were learning about the naturalization process in class at the time. Their focus included understanding what it means to be an American citizen through immigration and the responsibilities of citizenship. Last month’s ceremony was planned as part of the learning experience.

According to a press release from the MISD, students from the following Macomb County school districts attended: Center Line Public Schools, Utica Community Schools, Fraser Arts Academy in the Woods, Warren Woods Public Schools and Lakeview Public Schools.

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the new citizens — who took the oath holding American flags — came from Albania, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, India, Iraq, Montenegro, Poland and Romania.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Judge Stephanie Davis administered the oath. During the ceremony, the new citizens watched a video, “A Celebration of Citizenship,” and a congratulatory video from President Donald Trump.

“We are excited and pleased to be part of this important democratic process and to include our students in the ceremony,” MISD Superintendent Michael DeVault said in a prepared statement. “We know that Macomb County schools service students and families from many nationalities who are settling in our diverse county. We congratulate and welcome these new citizens to our county and state.”

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Warren Woods Tower High School social studies teacher Kate Walczy was among the educators who brought ninth grade students from her civics class to the ceremony. Over the years, some of her students’ parents have gone through the naturalization process to legally become U.S. citizens. According to Walczy, civics is a required course to graduate in Michigan.

“The overall class is about civics in the United States, which includes the citizenship/naturalization process. We also learn about our government, the standards of democracy, as well as our rights and freedoms,” Walczy said in an email. “My goal for this class is for students to learn what makes our country amazing, the rights and freedoms that we all have regardless of our personal beliefs or background. I want students to learn to ask questions of our government, to think and have informed opinions about who they are voting for.”

In civics class, the students often discuss why so many people want to be citizens here, and the ceremony helps them see that. As part of the learning process, Walczy’s students take a sample U.S. citizenship test.

“When we go to the ceremony, we then discuss what obstacles our newest citizens have faced in going through the process, as well as why they are deciding to go through the process now,” Walczy said. “The students were there primarily to observe; we also encouraged them to have conversations with those who had went through the process. Back at school, they talked to their classmates in a discussion about what they observed and learned.”

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