May 2, 2022 – Collinsville High School will hold a special place in the lives of 75 new American citizens who took the Oath of Allegiance during a Naturalization Oath Ceremony held in the CHS Auditorium on Monday, May 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Friends and family, along with CHS students and staff, witnessed the momentous occasion marking the moment candidates for citizenship officially became United States citizens.
United States District Judge Stephen McGlynn of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois welcomed and introduced the candidates who represented 32 countries (see below). The official Oath of Allegiance was administered by The Honorable Judge David Dugan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The candidates were presented by United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Steven Weinhoeft.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting requirements established by Congress. Ceremony participants had completed the U.S. citizenship process, but were not U.S. citizens until they took the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony.
The Collinsville High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Band Director Alfredo Deleon, performed the Star Spangled Banner and Stars & Stripes Forever. The CHS Choir, under the direction of Choir Director Ms. Kelsey Bethel, sang America the Beautiful. Following the oath, Robert E. McGlynn, a World War II veteran and father of Judge McGlynn, lead the new citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Prior to the close of the ceremony, Judge McGlynn gave the new citizens an opportunity to share their life story and reflect on their journey to citizenship. They spoke of surviving refugee camps, receiving threats for everyday activities, limited personal freedom and opportunities, and how it feels to be an American.
Collinsville High School is an Illinois Democracy School – a designation by the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition (ICMC) to recognize schools that have deep commitments to civic learning. The Naturalization Ceremony presented an opportunity for CHS students to experience civics and citizenship firsthand. Collinsville High School students watched in-person from the auditorium and online via livestream.
The event was livestreamed and archived on the Tomahawk Studios YouTube channel.
Click below to view it.
(The oath occurs at the 44 minute mark)
The 75 new citizens originated from the following countries:
Republic of Congo