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Walker’s Hosts Naturalization Ceremony

On Thursday, April 13, 38 individuals from 23 countries became new U.S. citizens in a special naturalization ceremony in the Centennial Center gym. Students, faculty, staff, family members, board of trustees and special guests were in attendance.

Following opening remarks by Associate Head of School Amy Wheeler, The Grapes, Walker’s a capella group, delivered a moving rendition of the National Anthem under the direction of Music Department Chair, Laurie MacAlpine P’08. Head of School Dr. Meera Viswanathan delivered the keynote address. “Virtually all of us in this room either are or were immigrants to the United States or are children or descendants of those who were immigrants,” said Ms. Vis.

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator for Connecticut, was also in attendance to address the new citizens. He spoke about the invaluable contributions of immigrants to our society, saying “our diversity is our strength.”

The citizens were then naturalized during an official court proceeding led by The Honorable Robert A. Richardson, Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court, District of Connecticut. Renee Alexander P’13 was the courtroom deputy for the proceeding.

Riyadh Al Aqel, an eleven-year employee of Flik Independent School Dining here at Walker’s, was among those being naturalized. Three adult members of the Walker’s community, including Spanish Teacher and Executive Director of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School Isabel Ceballos (Columbia), Dean of Digital and Library Services Nishette Isaac (St. Lucia) and Head of School Meera Viswanathan (India), all chose to retake their Oath of Allegiance during the ceremony.