Sullivans students visit new immigrants at naturalization ceremony
Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan 21 lucky students from The Sullivans School in Yokosuka, Japan had a once-in-a-lifetime-experience viewing a Naturalization Ceremony held at the Chapel of Hope on board Fleet Activities Yokosuka (Fleact) on Dec, 11, 2014. The moving ceremony was organized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Branch of the United States Embassy in Japan.
The 23 candidates for citizenship hailed from many different countries including Thailand, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Korea, and Columbia among others. The candidates were presented with certificates of citizenship following an inspiring keynote speech delivered by Mr. Andrew T. Miller, Chief of Visa Unit and First Secretary of the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo. Miller humorously quoted Spiderman and also reassured the candidates they would still be able to “root for Columbia in the World Cup Soccer games.” Then he added, “Unless they are playing America.” with a sly wink. The 23 candidates included family members of U.S servicemen and women and 5 sailors currently serving in the United States Military.
The Sullivans students were captivated by the emotional ceremony which included many real world Social Studies concepts they had previously experienced only in textbooks.
Andrew Doody, a multiage 4/5 student stated, “We saw people become U.S. Citizens it was an awesome experience. They got a certificate and a cake!”
Chloe Bogen, another multiage 4/5 student stated, “It was so cool to see them become Americans! Maybe now, we will become one big cuddly family, but not literally, only in our hearts.”
Kaylee Kong, Sullivan’s student council vice president said, “I felt honored to be there, it was fascinating.”
Many of the family and friends in the audience became inspired as the new citizens voiced an oath of allegiance, and then repeated the Pledge of Allegiance before adjourning to another room for a reception and picture taking. U.S Embassy staff was on hand to accept the new citizen’s applications for passports.
DoDEA Pacific provides a comprehensive preK-12 education to the children of military and eligible civilian personnel families serving throughout Asia. The 50 schools in DoDEA Pacific are composed of more than 23,500 students and 3,400 professional educators and support staff. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea. The Sullivans School is the largest school in DoDEA with a student body of approximately 1200 in grades K-5.