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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Feb. 13, 202005:10 AM EST

Federal court makes Jacksonville history

Naturalization ceremony witnessed by more than 700 students and teachers.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan presided Feb. 5 at a naturalization ceremony at Samuel Wolfson School for Advanced Studies and Leadership. 

Thirty applicants for citizenship from 18 countries took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America and became U.S. Citizens, witnessed by more than 700 students and teachers.

It was the first naturalization ceremony conducted in a Duval County public high school.

U.S. District Judges Marcia Morales Howard and Brian Davis participated in the ceremony, along with Duval County Schools Superintendent Diana Greene, Deputy Superintendent Dana Kriznar and school board members Cheryl Grymes, Lori Hershey, Charlotte Joyce and Darryl Willie.

In his 2019 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts emphasized the importance of the federal court’s contributions to civics education.

From left, Diana Greene, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, U.S. District Judge Brian Davis and U.S. District Judge Judge Marcia Morales Howard.

In the report, Roberts said people may take democracy for granted, and civics education has fallen by the wayside and social media can spread rumors and false information.

“The public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital. The judiciary has an important role to play in civics education, and I am pleased to report that the judges and staff of our federal courts are taking up the challenge,” Roberts wrote.

That inspired Corrigan to expand the court’s outreach beyond the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse, the traditional site of the Jacksonville Division Middle District of Florida’s naturalization ceremonies and other civics education programs for students and adults.

In his opening remarks, Corrigan called the yearslong process to become a naturalized citizen “long and arduous,” including application, interviews, background checks and examination.

“Each time I administer the oath, I am reminded of the significant commitment new citizens make to our country and the time they have taken to understand our democracy and how it works. It was a special moment for me to share this experience with Wolfson’s entire student body,” Corrigan said.

Visit to view the ceremony.



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