SWMS Takes Part in Naturalization Ceremony

citizen photo

South Woods Middle School students were selected by the Federal Bar Association Eastern District of the New York Chapter to participate in the Constitution Day Naturalization Ceremony held on September 17, 2018. This is an honor that has been bestowed upon only a select number of schools and the student body and staff were grateful for the opportunity to take part in the final step of the long journey to citizenship for 50 people originating from 27 different countries.

The students actively participated throughout the ceremony that took place at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay. The Chamber Orchestra, directed by Ms. Jeanne Chung, and select Vocal Jazz Choir musicians in grades 7 and 8, directed by Ms. Emily Klonowski, performed in front of court justices, local politicians, the media, and most importantly, new citizens and their families. Students Daniel Chan, Sabrina Guo and Natalie Obedian led the Pledge of Allegiance. Several 8th graders presented the new citizens with American flags after they were sworn in, and the entire eighth grade class was invited to be part of the audience to witness the administration of the Oath of Citizenship.

In the weeks prior to the ceremony, the middle school hosted an essay contest encouraging students to write a welcome letter to the newly inducted citizens and define what it means to be an American citizen. The two winning authors, Maya Kopacz and Anika Shah, presented their essays and congratulated the new citizens. As stated by Anika, “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what language you speak, or what your beliefs are. As long as you work hard, you can become successful in America.” 

Master of Ceremonies, Hon. A. Kathleen Tomlinson, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of New York, thanked the South Woods students, Principal Michelle Burget, administration and faculty, as well as Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts Michael Salzman, Ms. Chung and Ms. Klonowski for their contributions to the ceremony. 

After the ceremony, eighth grade students and teachers were granted a private tour of the main floor of Sagamore Hill, the home of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, and had the opportunity to learn about its significance and history. The day provided the students with a greater understanding of the workings of the federal courts and the duties and privileges of U.S. citizenship, and is sure to have left a lasting impression of the significance and responsibilities of being an American citizen.