A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Holmes High School students witness real-life civics lesson as their interpreter takes oath of citizenship

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Special to NKyTribune

When Mayra Guzman came to Northern Kentucky from Mexico 10 years ago the only words she could speak in English were “hi” and “how are you.”

She is now proficient in English and for the past two years, the 24-year-old has been an interpreter for Covington Independent Public Schools.

Her biggest accomplishment, however, happened last Friday when she took the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in the auditorium of Holmes High School.

Holmes is one of the schools Mayra interprets for.

Mayra Guzman

Mayra Guzman

Mayra and the other new citizens took an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Some Holmes students watched the ceremonies, getting a real-life civics lesson up close.

“I am excited that my co-workers and the students here got to experience this with me – my Covington family is going to be able to see this happen,’’ Mayra said. “I am excited they actually saw the ceremony and they now know someone who went through the process.’’

Mayra came to the United States with her parents and brother. She said they came under a “privileged situation’’ because her father’s company transferred him to the United States to work. He had a work visa. She came as a dependent.

She was a sophomore in high school in they arrived.

“I learned English in school by literally making myself do my homework every night and translating everything because I wanted to be successful. I forced myself to learn the language.’’

She became a resident her senior year in high school and became a permanent resident in 2009.

She attended Northern Kentucky University, where she majored in sociology and minored in Spanish and Honors.

In May, she applied for citizenship.

Her parents are also citizens now, and her brother is going through the process.

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