Carriage Drive Elementary student honored at citizenship ceremony
Jems Berry, a third grade student at Carriage Drive Elementary School, was honored at an oath and swearing-in ceremony to celebrate his U.S. citizenship on March 16. The event was led by Patsy Johnson of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and Thomas Creed, the Carriage Drive Elementary student body president.
After he took the stage, the 8-year-old was greeted with patriotic songs played by the Carriage Drive Elementary School band and a dance routine performed by students. While Berry did take an oath of citizenship at the ceremony, the event was actually a formality because he became a U.S. citizen when his mother naturalized.
Berry’s mother Jennifer, who is Filipino, came to the United States with her son five years ago after she married an American citizen.
“My hope for my son is that he serves the country in a positive way,” Jennifer Berry said. “His life here is more secure and my son has many job opportunities, so when he grows up he can be anything he wants … so long as he works toward his goals.”
Carriage Drive Elementary School principal Brooke Thomas said the event honored Berry, but also provided a great learning opportunity for students to learn more about immigration and the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
“Becoming a U.S. citizen is an honored path and it comes with great responsibility,” Thomas said.
Kim Berry, Jem’s father, said he was humbled that the school put together the event.
“I was really amazed how the school put this together on such short notice to make such a memorable experience for Jems throughout his life,” Kim Berry said. “We are all very grateful.”