West Orange High School Jr. AFROTC holds Veterans Day naturalization ceremony

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — In keeping with West Orange’s spirit of diversity and acceptance, members of the Mountaineer Squadron, West Orange High School’s Jr. Air Force ROTC unit, organized their first-ever naturalization ceremony on Nov. 7, welcoming 34 new American citizens.

Senior Cadet Angel Cordero was the primary cadet organizer of the event, in conjunction with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“The idea of coordinating the naturalization ceremony at the high school began with my stepfather, who works for USCIS, who asked me what I thought about having a ceremony at the high school congratulating soon-to-be U.S. citizens,” Cordero said. “I thought it was a great idea and a great opportunity to have the WOHS Jr. AFROTC and the high school student body participate, since these candidates are the backbone of the country we all live in.

“We began with the ROTC flag-folding ceremony to honor Veterans Day,” Cordero continued. “Cadet Yamilee Chavez was our speaker and cited the importance of the execution of the 13 folds of the flag, demonstrated by Cadets Christopher Vilcachagua, Gordon Schneider and myself.”

Cadet Danielle Pereira sang the national anthem while the colors were presented.

USCIS District Director John E. Thompson presented the candidates for citizenship while USCIS acting Assistant Director John E. Carrington led the candidates in their Oath of Allegiance.

“I would also like to thank our three guest speakers, Second Lt. Sean Han of the United States Air Force, DEA supervisor Arthur Guedes and West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore,” Cordero said.

In addition to Mountaineer Squadron cadets, members of the student body and USCIS officers were present to assist with the ceremony.

The last order of business was the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance as 34 new American citizens were welcomed into this country. One new American, who served in the U.S. military, originally came from Benin. In addition, one new American came from Brazil, one from China, two from Colombia, one from the Dominican Republic, four from Ecuador, two from Ghana, one from Greece, six from Haiti, three from India, one from Iraq, one from Italy, two from Jamaica, one from Nigeria, five from the Philippines and two from South Korea.

As for Cordero, he plans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. following graduation.

“Hosting the naturalization ceremony here at West Orange High School was a way to honor the school I attended for four years and the Jr. AFROTC program that has become a new branch to my family tree,” Cordero said.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD