(WMC-TV) – Sixty people became U.S. citizens during a Citizenship Ceremony at Houston High School Monday.
For dozens of students, the ceremony was a valuable first-hand lesson.
"There is great value in bringing, in a real way, what is normally regulated to something the students might see in their history books or civics books, but, might never have had any reason to understand in the way that you do when you see 60 immigrants stand up, raise their right hand and take the oath," said Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy.
Ravi Desurkar came to Memphis from India in the year 2000. She points out the many freedoms, better living conditions and education as motivations for wanting to become a U.S. citizen.
Taking the Oath of Allegiance in front of high school students was meaningful.
"It felt good, because they were showing all the spirits and all that," said Desurkar.
For Gadafi Ali, whose mother pressured him as a small child to learn English when he arrived in this country, this is a monumental event in his life that has him thinking about "living the dream" and "giving back".
"I think I'm gonna go ahead and do the old-fashioned American Dream. Go to college, get a job, pay my taxes and that's gonna be pretty exciting for me," said Ali. "I love America, of course. It's given me quite a lot and I'm going to make sure to return the favor."
And with that, 60 new United States citizens are made.