indivisible: New citizens take oath at CNE High School
By Dick Maloney
Shortly before 1 p.m. Nov. 2, citizens of more than 30
countries filed into the gymnasium at Clermont Northeastern High School. About
45 minutes, they left as citizens of one.
This was the second year that CNE has hosted a
naturalization ceremony at the high school. While this one took place more than
two-and-a-half months after it was originally scheduled, because of damage to
the high school gymnasium floor, the pomp of the proceedings was not
diminished, and the circumstances just as meaningful.
The gymnasium was officially declared a courtroom; representatives
of two Clermont County American Legion Posts presented the colors; the school’s
select choir sang the National Anthem; Principal T.J. Glassmeyer gave an
introduction; United States Magistrate Stephanie Bowman read a statement of the
court; a hearing for the petitioners was held, and the 67 guests of honor swore
their allegiance to the United States.
Many of the main participants reflected on the ceremony and
their roles in it:
In his introduction, Glassmeyer quoted a former president: “Franklin Roosevelt said in the truest sense, ’Freedom can not be
bestowed, it must be achieved.’ All too often we forget how lucky we are to be
American citizens. We take for granted the freedoms and rights that you have
sacrificed so much for. I hope our students look at the freedoms you have
achieved and appreciate the freedoms they have been bestowed even more. We feel
incredibly lucky to have you hear today, and we appreciate you allowing us to
be a part of this ceremony. Congratulations. It is truly a privilege to have you
join us as American citizens.”
Later, Glassmeyer discussed the
significance of the event for his school.
it’s really important for the students, one, to understand how the immigration
process works, how legal immigration works, and two, you know, it lets them
appreciate the rights that we were given when we were born, that all of these
people sacrificed and worked incredibly hard to get things that we were born
with,” Glassmeyer said.
immigration at the forefront of political discourse, and discord, Glassmeyer
said the ceremony put a human face on the issue.
not scary. These are people who came to the country, and hard working, who
sacrificed a great deal and who have gone through the process legally. They
waited in line, they did all the correct forms, they did everything correctly,
and they’re great people,” he said.
The flag bearers
Perry, commander of American Legion Post 237 (Batavia) and Rick Gumbert,
commander of American Legion Post 72 in Mount Carmel, were both participating
in a naturalization ceremony for the first time.
impressive. I’m glad to see so many people come out and want to be Americans.
They did it the right way and they took care of everything,” Perry said.
it was a great ceremony,” he said. “I was honored to be here. I was surprised
there were 67 people from 30 different countries, so that was really an honor.
Glad to see a lot of people doing it the right way.”
members of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, based
in Blue Ash, were popular with people taking photos. Dressed in full period
military uniforms, President Jack Bredendoerfer and members Jerry Knight and
Bob Bowers graciously accommodated each request.
said his group has representatives at two to three naturalization ceremonies
our (ancestors) helped found the country, so the country keeps renewing itself
through new citizens and that’s why we help celebrate this event,”
it’s important because our nation is built on immigrants from the very
beginning, and I’m proud and inspire to see the number of people coming into
our country the right way,” Bowers said.
she has presided at close to 20 naturalization ceremonies this year – more than
in previous years.
happy thing that we get to do as judges in the federal court system. When we
have them in the Courthouse it brings a lot of people into the building which
is a typically quiet place, but I love doing them at schools, having the
students involved, the pomp and circumstance of the flags, singing the ‘Star
Spangled Banner.’ When it’s at the Courthouse, there’s no music, there’s no
anything fun, so it’s great to have them at schools and we can have the
students involved. This is rewarding for me to be able to be part of their
stories. It brings people together,” Bowman said.
The new citizens
residents Vedika Chirra, Deepak Kumar and Meeja Manish came to the U.S. from
software engineer, moved here three years ago “for love,” she said. Her
husband, also from India, had previously been naturalized.
lot of paperwork to do, but I think it’s worth it. I’m excited, happy.
Everything went smoothly and there were a lot of people who were very helpful,”
memorable part of it … the part where the judge actually explained the
responsibilities and her speech on mentioning about that and the principal said
not to take the freedom lightly, like he was giving a message out, I think,
those were two interesting things to be highlighted, actually.
freedom, happiness, excitement, looking forward to doing a lot more.”
as a manger at a Downtown company. He has been in the U.S. since “2007 or
actually means a lot to us because we’ll be art of one of the greatest
constitutions in the world, and we actually know that we enjoy the same
freedoms as other citizens of the country enjoy currently,” Kumar said. “We are
looking forward to having this freedom and all of the protection and safety
that the country provides, and grow together with the country.”
citizens means the couple can start making long-term plans.
difficult part I would say was understanding all of the immigration laws and
all of the changes to it, keeping up to date around all of these current
happenings, and then making sure that we are in compliance, that we are
traveling accordingly, carrying all our papers, but right now with the
citizenship, most of that paper burden goes away, and that makes our travel
easier moving forward,” Kumar said.
probably the most difficult part. The most interesting part was really, when we
got it finally, and now we actually can, we don’t have to maintain dual
citizenship and stay between different countries.”
represented at the naturalization ceremony Nov. 2 at Clermont Northeastern High
CNE, in partnership with the community, will provide
students with the skills and exploratory experiences that enable them to reach
their fullest potential. To accomplish this, the CNE staff will:
• Strive to make children confident and creative builders of
• Research, design, and provide the best academic program
and learning environment possible for students.
Schools in the CNE District include Clermont Northeastern
High School, Clermont Northeastern Middle School, Clermont Northeastern
Elementary School and Clermont Northeastern Preschool.