Each year on Washington's Birthday (aka President's Day) we try to have some sort of civic minded assembly for our students. Last year we hosted the Boston Black Catholic Choir to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the year before we had an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. This year we decided to host a naturalization ceremony. I got the idea from Boston College who hosted one last year and we worked closely with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services branch office in Bedford which organized everything.
The ceremony was held yesterday for scheduling reasons and was a lovely event. There were 40 people from 24 different countries who became citizens. The ceremony was held in our gym with about 100 guests of the new citizens plus the 500 or so students/faculty from Trinity. Our choir began the ceremony by signing the National Anthem followed by some stirring words from our principal Mr. Mailloux '72. He spoke of how so many of us take our citizenship and its rights for granted and we should be inspired by what these new citizens had to do to become an American. The speech was very well received with a couple of people, including the aide from the congressional delegation, asking him for a copy!
The 40 folks then took the oath of allegiance and were given a sustained standing ovation from the crowd. We then heard a few more remarks, including a video message from President Obama and a video of the song "God Bless the USA." The ceremony ended with our choir singing a song called "America" which was "America the Beautiful" but with the words at the Statue of Liberty as part of the song - it was absolutely gorgeous and the immigration officers led everyone in a standing ovation.
We were so privileged to have witnessed this ceremony and I am so grateful to USCIS for allowing us to host. I hope and pray our students gained a deeper appreciation of their own citizenship and for being an American. I know I did.
The Union Leader covered the event and you can read the article here.