(DeKalb County, September 17, 2018) – Georgia Piedmont Technical College today hosted its 15th annual Constitution Day and U.S. Citizenship Celebration. Candidates for citizenship participated in a naturalization ceremony conducted by Mr. Dana Clemens, section chief, Atlanta Field Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security.

The ceremony began with remarks from Dr. Tavarez Holston, president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College. “It’s my humble honor to be here with you today to welcome some of our newest residents as they enjoy their first moments as citizens of the United States,” stated Dr. Holston. “We have all seen the Statue of Liberty standing on Ellis Island. It signals to immigrants that this is a land of opportunity and that we welcome those from foreign lands,” he said.  “Our college is also a reflection of that symbol. The college is based in a vibrant community of immigrants,” Holston said. “I am exceedingly proud of the new citizens who have gathered here today to take the next step in their life’s journey. I encourage them to keep learning and to serve others,” he concluded.

“As section chief of the Atlanta Field Office of USCIS, I am glad to be here today as we reflect on what it means to be a U.S. citizen,” Clemens said. “We acknowledge the ideals enshrined in the Constitution, and we are reminded that they are as relevant today as they were over 200 years ago,” he stated. Each candidate received a certificate after Clemens administered the oath of allegiance. The singing of “America, My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and the national anthem were also elements of the event.

Following the oath, Dr. Meghan McBride, dean of Adult Education, recognized six of Georgia Piedmont’s English as Second Language (ESL) students who were naturalized within the past year.

Mr. Lino Albarran, one of the candidates from Mexico who now lives in Lawrenceville, said, “I am really excited about becoming a U.S. citizen. It has taken about a year for this to happen, and my wife and son are here to help me celebrate,” he said. “I thank the U.S. Government for allowing me to become a citizen of this nation,” added Albarran.

Georgia Piedmont hosted a reception for the new citizens and their guests in the DeKalb Conference Center’s atrium immediately following the ceremony. Representatives from the League of Women Voters of Georgia were on hand to assist the new citizens as well as other attendees in registering to vote.

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia.  As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing economy.  In August 2016, the Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked Georgia Piedmont among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment.  GPTC’s graduation rate, as reported by the Technical College System of Georgia in its 2017 annual Benchmark and Supplemental Reports, is more than 82 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 99.5 percent total job placement rate.  Serving more than 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is the second largest in the state.  The college has seven learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, and Rockdale counties.  As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law).  Contact Dr. Perrin Alford, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1231, ADA504Coordinator@gptc.edu or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Lolita Morrison, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1210, TitleIXCoordinator@gptc.edu or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-157 for assistance.  For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at https://www.gptc.edu/gainfulemployment