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Glad to be American

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The eighth grade students at Alta Middle School have realized that it is difficult for immigrants to become citizens of the United States - and how happy they are they are already citizens of this country!

Sue Piercy's civic class discussed the importance of being a good citizen which lead to the questions about what are the duties and responsibilities of being a good citizen. That lead to the idea about what does it take to be a citizen.

"We thought it would be a good idea for the students to see what it actually takes to become a citizen of the U.S.," Piercy said.

An actual naturalization application was obtained and they had to fill it out pretending that they were at least 18 years old and had been a good citizen up to the time of the application. It was a very lengthy application; 10 pages.

The students were also fingerprinted, another process in becoming a citizen. The new high school forensics class, taught by Alyssa Dobson, helped in this process. The high school students were adamant for the middle schooler to stand up and face away from them during the fingerprinting, a practice that is done in an actual fingerprinting.

The middle schoolers also took their 100-word citizenship test in class. The students had the opportunity to study potential questions for a few minutes each class period in civics in 20 question portions and took them home to see if their parents could answer them.

"They really had fun with that part," Piercy said. "I also took the test with the students and felt proud that I could answer all but about three of the questions."

The students felt that in order to take the test, a real understanding of words was needed. Alexis Nierling had trouble with some of the wording and imagined that a person not understanding the English language would have even more difficulty. Dylan Harms said he was amazed at the great amount of things that needed to be remembered. Another student said having a well-balanced history of America was needed to take the test.

"The students realized how lucky they are to be natural born citizens and what a lengthy process it is to become a citizen of our great country. I think my class really enjoyed this project. It is not an easy process.



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