GJHS welcomes new U.S. citizens

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Grand Junction High School made history Wednesday. 18 people from across the world became United States citizens right in their auditorium. A first for the school and District 51.

"They work so hard for this and they really deserved it,” said Riley Pope, freshman at Grand Junction High School.

They came from different cultures, countries and backgrounds.

"Culture, language of course, food, food is also different,” said Igor Trupac, new U.S. Citizen.

However, they all have one thing in common.

"It was always my dream to be a U.S. citizen one day, and that was my goal,” said Trupac.

For the first time, Grand Junction High School hosted the naturalization ceremony. Giving social studies students an up-close opportunity to learn about the citizenship process.

"I saw them come away with more than just an experience they came away with a little bit of an appreciation of what it means to be an American,” said Justin Whiteford, social studies teacher at GJHS.

Igor Trupac, is one of those new citizens.

"I applied last year in December, I sent in my application,” said Trupac.

He says he was born in Serbia and has spent most of his life in Hungary. He first came to America on a student visa before finding work and obtaining a green card in Glenwood Springs. He says it’s been a long road, but a road worth taking.

“I’m glad to be a part of this country,” said Trupac.

The ceremony left an impact on the audience as well, as each new citizen shared their story.

"For me, I think that it was really cool just having it as a world melting pot where people from all over the world can come in with different views and different opinions and just being able to all come here in our school,” said Joel Daugherty, freshman at GJHS.

After the ceremony, students from both Grand Junction High School and Pomona elementary were able to ask questions and share their thanks.

"We wanted them to see kind of a positive light to what often can be a negative issue I think our goals were made, I mean it was a win, win,” said Whiteford.

GJHS teachers say they hope to make this ceremony an annual event.

Some of the new citizens said they can't wait to do all the things we sometimes take for granted. Like vote and get an American passport.

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