Photos: BCHS hosts U.S. Naturalization Ceremony

students hand out American flags

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

On Friday, April 12, the emphasis was on happiness. That’s when Bethlehem Central High School hosted a Naturalization Ceremony where 35 individuals from all over the world became U.S. citizens.

Bethlehem Central School District Superintendent of Schools Jody Monroe welcomed the honorees and special guests. The Naturalization Ceremony was presided over by The Honorable Mae A. D’Agostino, U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of NY.  

Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado was the guest speaker. Several elected officials were also on hand to celebrate the new citizens.

Fifth graders from across the district were in the audience, along with many high school students. Student musicians filled the auditorium with music including the BCHS chorus, the Eagle fifth-grade chorus and student pianist Will Lauricella, who opened the event with a musical prelude of songs of America on the piano. 

High school student Marwa Al Essa described her own journey and the challenges she faced after moving to the United States from Iraq and becoming a U.S. citizen. Agam Amsterdamer and Mahya Alawy, students at Slingerlands Elementary School, delivered heartfelt poems written for the new citizens from their own unique perspectives about finding “home” in a new country. Korbin Patschureck led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Students, staff and special guests cheered on the new citizens and their families in a morning program that was nothing short of amazing!

You can view a photo album of the Naturalization Ceremony here

The Naturalization Ceremony was the first to be hosted in Bethlehem. The event was organized by the BCSD Social Studies Department.