Schenectady County welcomes newest US Citizens

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A naturalization ceremony was held in Schenectady County Friday. Thirty people, from 17 different countries, are now US citizens.

For Marianna Vallejo, becoming a US citizen has been a dream that was more than 30 years in the making.

"I’m so happy. What can I say, I am very blessed," Vallejo said. "I want to have a better life."

She says this moment wouldn’t have been possible without the help of her language teacher Laurie Bargstedt.

"She’s my teacher, but she is my family because she is helping me a lot with my dreams coming true," Vallejo explained.

Bargstedt says she couldn’t be prouder of Marianna.

"She has helped a lot of people who followed her into our program, helping them find community resources, understanding the culture," Bargstedt explained.

Marianna says she’s looking forward to more opportunities, especially when it comes to education.

"Hopefully I am not too old to go to school. My dream is to be at least an assistant nurse or nurse," she explained.

She hopes her story serves as an inspiration for others.