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Naturalization ceremony celebrates over 50 individuals at NHIOP

Sarah Poolman, Photo Editor

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On Friday, Sept. 28th, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics held a naturalization ceremony for over fifty individuals, who were being sworn in as United States citizens. Special guests from the New Hampshire area came in and welcomed these individuals with open arms.

The guests who came in included Jacqueline Castaneda (Immigration Services Assistant), Joshua Egli (Supervisory Immigration Services Officer), Neil Levesque (Executive Director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library). The room was filled with families, smiles, and excitement. Proud loved ones were with their families, cheering them on as they received their certificates.

The opening of the ceremony began with Jacqueline Castaneda, where she gave the welcoming remarks and introduced the newest citizens of the United States, who represented twenty different countries. Saint Anselm College student Philip Dragone showed the room his talent by singing the national anthem, where some families decided to sing along. As Joshua Egli talked to the newest United States citizens, he read the oath of allegiance, and the room followed along.

Both Egli and Levesque gave warm remarks to the newest citizens in the room. Levesque had stated, “we are all equal Americans, equal under law.”

He mentioned that now that these individuals are American citizens, they are able to participate and voice their opinions towards the country. He stated, “We need to argue, and decide how to change the country.”

This brought forth a sense of community for the families and individuals in the room “as a citizen, it is a great gift to be here and participate in the democracy,” as Levesque stated

These guest speakers made a point to make these new United States citizens feel a sense of belonging, as well as home. They were all very excited to point out how important it is to participate and allow your voice to be heard, whether or not you are representing the democracy, town, or city. It was mentioned that the New Hampshire Institute of Politics brings people together, and was even stated to be a “very special place,” considering there have been many important events that have been held there, including presidents of the United States that have spent some time in that building, and in this state.

After Neil Levesque had given his remarks to the new citizens, Philip Dragone read aloud the pledge of allegiance, where everyone in the room put their hands on their hearts and followed along.

At this moment, there was a sense of community that was taking place within the room.

After the pledge of allegiance was said, the presentation of the certificates took place.

The new citizens stood up and were able to shake the hands of the guest speakers, and then receive their certificates from the USCIS and Guest Officials.

It was a special moment for these new United States citizens, as they could be officially declared American citizens.

Proud families watched their loved ones receive their certificates and cheered them on in excitement.

Pictures were taken afterward, including pictures with the guest speakers.

This was a day for all individuals who attended the event to come together and celebrate citizenship.

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Naturalization ceremony celebrates over 50 individuals at NHIOP