On May 18, 2017

New Americans welcomed in Brandon

By Evan Johnson

BRANDON—They came from Thailand, Somalia, the Philippines, Canada, Sweden, Mali, Bhutan and more, but at the end of the naturalization ceremony at the Neshobe School in Brandon on Wednesday, May 10, 62 candidates from 29 countries left as Americans.

The event on Wednesday afternoon filled the school auditorium with elected representatives, area residents, students and teachers. Rep. Peter Welch was the first to welcome the newest citizens.

“We say thank you, we say we welcome you and we say you are going to make our strong country stronger,” he said.

Welch also welcomed the Neshobe students to what he called a “glorious day.”

“They are learning what citizenship is all about,” he said. “It’s responsibility and it’s welcoming others to our country who are willing to undertake the responsibility.”

Judge Colleen Brown, who administered the oath, described the gravity of the day’s occasion.

“It is by welcoming and integratig people from around the world, the United States has become the country it is today,” she said.

Rosalind Gramling first came to the United States from the United Kingdom when she was 5 years old. At 55, the physical therapist from South Burlington said the current political climate made her want to take on a greater responsibility.

“The past election was the most important factor,” she said. “I wanted to be able to vote.”

Devi Dahal came to the United States from Bhutan in 2011, fleeing civil unrest with her family. She now lives in Burlington and works at the University Medical Center. “I’m very happy to become a citizen,” the 42-year-old said following the ceremony. “I love this country. I’ll help this country if I need to.”

Indra Khatiwoda of Essex lived in Bhutan and then Nepal before arriving in Vermont. The 37-year-old has found work at Global Foundries and also works in school transportation. Standing outside with his family following the ceremony, Khatiwoda said there was no where else he’d rather be.

“This is a safe place,” he said. “Right now, I’m going home to celebrate.”

The following the administration of the Oath of Allegiance, Neshobe fifth- and sixth-grade students sang songs and recited the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.

The event featured musical performances from the Maiden Vermont a capella group and Dr. Francois Clemmons, a professor emeritus from Middlebury College, who led the room in a rendition of Woodie Guthrie’s classic folk song, “This Land is Your Land.”

He sang the first two verses, then looked up at the crowd before him and smiled.

“Why don’t you sing it with me?” he said.

Then the new citizens all sang together.

Photo by Evan Johnson
A group of 62 candidates from 29 countries recite the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalizaton ceremony at the Neshobe School in Brandon, Wednesday, May 10. 

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Robert Hecker appointed to Killington Select Board

May 15, 2024
By Curt Peterson Robert Hecker has been appointed to take Steve Finneron’s seat on the Killington Select Board. The announcement came after an executive session Monday night May 13. The position lasts until next Town Meeting Day vote, when voters will choose the person to fulfill the remaining year of Finneron’s term.  Hecker was one…

Town resolves eminent domain 

May 15, 2024
Deal with landowner called ‘win-win’ By Polly Mikula The town of Killington will not pursue an eminent domain hearing scheduled for May 20, having recently resolved the case with the landowner.  Eva Nagymihaly and her sister, Theresa Rust, own land on the east side at the base of Killington Road to the intersection with Route…

Logging company fined for wetland and water quality impacts in Bridgewater, Thetford

May 15, 2024
The Agency of Natural Resources Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) announced May 8 that Thomson Timber Harvesting and Trucking LLC (Thompson Timber), a company that performs logging activities in Vermont, was fined $32,550 for violating the Vermont Wetland Rules and failing to follow acceptable management practices (AMPs) for…

Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum celebrates expansion

May 15, 2024
By Polly Mikula Saturday, May 11, Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum held a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Merchants Row downtown. While the museum relocated to its current location (66 Merchants Row) last spring, this was the first time the organization has celebrated that expansion. The move allowed Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum to tripled in size with new…