- Sponsorship -

‘I’m so thankful we can sing for them’

Elementary choir welcomes new U.S. citizens with patriotic songs


As they lined up along a staircase to wait to perform at a recent naturalization ceremony, East Oakview Elementary choristers seemed to truly understand that the U.S. is full of those who weren’t born in this country.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum is a proud sponsor of SNN
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum is a proud sponsor of SNN

“My grandpa was born in Greece,” Andre Williams offered.

“My mother came from Dubai,” said Page Robinson.

Added Zack Johnson, “I know someone who just became a citizen yesterday who is from Russia.”

And so it was that a group of more than 20 fourth-graders heralded through song the addition of 73 new U.S. citizens from 30 countries at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids. They welcomed the newcomers with a jaunty version of “You’re a Grand Old Flag” as well as the solemn “God Bless America.”

Lou Sinigos was born in Greece and became a naturalized citizen in 1964

It was a poignant event for choir director Lou Sinigos, a native of Greece who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1964 at age 3.

“I barely remember it, but I do remember carrying a flag and walking down a hallway in this big old (former City Hall) building,” Sinigos recalled. “I remember it was a little scary somehow, but that it felt like something very special.”

As the new U.S. citizens made their way across the stage to shake Judge Scott W. Dales’ hand, Sinigos said he was “having trouble keeping it together.”

“I’m so thankful we can sing for them, on a day they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he said. “And I’m so excited to have the kids see this.

“Someday they will probably reflect on this and see how important it is, how blessed we are that we are citizens of the United States, no matter what the political climate.”

CONNECT

East/West Oakview music Facebook page

- Sponsorship -
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

LATEST ARTICLES

Demand for pharmacy techs leads to new program

Another hybrid session runs April 12 to July 30 and has room for up to 16 students...

‘All learning together, no matter where we are in the world’

High school students from Forest Hills collaborated with peers from Virginia and Greece on a project about the kindertransport rescue of Jewish children...

1 COMMENT

  1. IT was so good to see Lou and his choristers in action. He is a most dedicated man, who loves what he does and he does it so well. His contribution to the community is immeasurable. Thanks or writing the story Morgan.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Students feel welcome in a district with ‘flags of every country’

In the state’s most diverse district, students weigh in on what it means to them to go to school with peers from all over the globe...

SNN Editorial

Gauging the fallout from the pandemic on learning

While parents and educators use assessments to determine many kinds of student learning, a local researcher urges caution with testing from the pandemic year...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS