America, Brandon welcomes immigrants: New citizens sworn in at Neshobe School

BRANDON — They came from Thailand, Somalia, the Philippines, Canada, Sweden, Mali, Bhutan and more, but at the end of the May 10 naturalization ceremony at the Neshobe Elementary School in Brandon, 62 candidates from 29 countries left as Americans.
The event filled the school auditorium with elected officials, area residents, students and teachers. Even U.S. Rep. Peter Welch was on hand to be the first to welcome the newest citizens, the largest group ever gathered for the annual ceremony in Brandon.
“We say thank you, we say we welcome you, and we say you are going to make our strong country stronger,” Welch said.
The Congressman 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.”
The Hon. Colleen A. Brown, Chief Bankruptcy Judge for U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rutland, administered the oath. She described the gravity of the day’s occasion.
“It is by welcoming and integrating 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 Britain when she was five 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 of Vermont Medical Center.
“I’m very happy to become a citizen,” the 42-year-old Dahal 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 the Global Foundries computer chip factory and also works in school transportation. Standing outside with his family following the ceremony, Khatiwoda said there was nowhere else he’d rather be.
“This is a safe place,” he said. “Right now, I’m going home to celebrate.”
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:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The event featured musical performances from the Maiden Vermont a capella chorus and Francois Clemmons, a professor emeritus at Middlebury College, led the room in a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s classic American folk song “This Land is Your Land.”
Clemmons 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 room all sang together.

Share this story:

More News

Bernard D. Kimball, 76, of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Bernard D. Kimball, 76, passed away in Bennington Hospital on Jan. 10, 2023. … (read more)

News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Share this story: