OAK HARBOR - There was no lack of witnesses at a U.S. District Court naturalization ceremony here yesterday.
Often held in a downtown Toledo courtroom - where seating space can be at a premium because of all the citizen-hopefuls and family members who attend - this time the event was performed in the Oak Harbor High School gymnasium.
The class of 46 immigrants saw the gym filled to the rafters by friends and relatives, plus the school's 700-member student body - a witness-to-participant ratio of more than 15-to-1.
The court's northern Ohio district chose the school as its venue after history teachers Laura Ulery and Susan Haney inquired about having their students witness one of the ceremonies in Toledo.
The teachers thought that would be a great way to cap off lectures they gave on immigration. The court agreed, but - given the space crunch - decided to bring the ceremony to the school, Ms. Ulery said.
The event had its usual heart-warming moments, plus a few extras. Veterans presented colors. Two school bands and school choir presented music. Words came from various dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
A student, 17-year-old Rachel Goldstein, read her winning entry from an essay competition in which she encouraged everyone to embrace the basic concepts of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that America was founded upon. "I was so happy for all those who were sworn in," Miss Goldstein said.
U.S. District Judge John Potter, who presided over the event, told the new citizens he hopes they "will experience the same benefits and opportunities of this free society" that his father did when he emigrated to the United States from England years ago.
Judge Robert C. Pollex of Wood County Common Pleas Court administered the oaths.
The following is a list of the newly sworn Americans, followed by their former country of citizenship:
Yue Chan Gong, China; Man Shiu Chung, Hong Kong; Seshuvalli Jasty, India; Marilyn Conley, Philippines; Rafael Narciso Martinez, El Salvador; Roman Podolsky, Ukraine; Milla Podolsky, Ukraine.
Andreas Luescher, Switzerland; Rebecca M. Murphy, Philippines; Zi Gui Chen, China; Graciela Vazquez Heldman, Mexico; Claudia Patricia Rodriguez, Mexico; Archena Bhalla, Canada; Kayhan Banoo Hamizadehi, Iran; Marivic Pichay Reyes Singian, Philippines; Aleksey Isarov, Ukraine.
Yelena Isarov, Ukraine; Maria Lanetta Cross, Jamaica; Victor Emmanuel Harris, Liberia; Monica Frances Klarer, Canada; Maria Augusta Nimley, Liberia; Miae Marshall, Korea; Ana Rosa Calvillo, Mexico; Teck Hung Wang, Malaysia; Helen Emma Mason, United Kingdom.
Gregory Tarkowski, Poland; Batrisa Fernso Markho, Iraq; Sakuntala Kolli, India; Alevtina Levin, Russia; Tani Diamal Meziane, Algeria; Fathia Nawal Tani-Meziane, Algeria; Vivek Ranian Awasty, India; Dolores Gase, Mexico; Hyon Sun Goodall, Korea.
Victor Karpov, Russia; Celina Mallari Heck, Philippines; Rashmiben Rameshbhai Patel, India; Dulia Loredo, Mexico; Josehpine Tan Domingo, Philippines; Yi Wen Chow, Taiwan; Jary Mying Chow, Taiwan; Gi Yuan Chow, Taiwan; You Cheng Chow, Taiwan; Marian Arlen Badayos De La Serna, Philippines; Froilan Diego Seguil, former country of citizenship unknown; Vu Trung Nguyen, former country of citizenship unknown.