Wednesday, September 13, 2017

9/12 Interdependence

Sophomore Aaron P. introduced the 2nd Day of Peace Week UD Chapel Speakers, Mr. Andi Dema and Ms. Jeanine Bath

Good Morning!  I am here on behalf of YAC to introduce our speakers for Interdependence, the second day of Peace Week 2017.  

Mr. Andi Dema became a United States Citizen in August.  He is our Middle and Upper Division Theater and Drama Teacher.

Mr. Dema's Speech:

Interdependence and Immigration is the lifeblood of this great country.

This March, I applied for Naturalization to become a United States Citizen. 
Over Spring Break, in fact. Woooo! Spring Break of government paperwork!!!

And then I played the waiting game. A game you become quite good at as an immigrant.

In April, I had my fingerprints and photos taken—the security guard scared the heck outta me—I always sweat so much in government offices, even at the DMV I’m always a nervous wreck because of all the paperwork that is required. As an immigrant, everything needs to be exact, law-abiding, and perfect.
August 9th, I had my interview with the USCIS Officer. I had been asked to bring 2 passport photos with me, that, in my rush, I had left in the car. I told security that I had to go back to my car to get my photos—that guard made me sweat again.

I grabbed the photos and came back to the waiting area. I waited. 
And waited.
Aaaaand waited.
Aaaaaandi dema?
Yes, that’s me!

I got up and walked through the labyrinthine hallway of offices to get to our stop. I stood up, took an oath that I would tell the truth-- under the penalty of perjury.

It’s odd that raising your hand and saying those magic words makes you have to tell the truth. I suppose that is the wonderful thing about living in a society of laws.

There are several portions to the interview exam.
She asked me to read a sentence: 
George Washington was the father of America.
I nailed it.
Then she asked me to WRITE OUT a sentence:
George Washington was the first President.
Nailed it again. 
I could speak, read, and write English.
Then came the civics questions.
I had to get at least 6 out of 10 questions right about American civics.
How many US Representatives are there? 435
How many years does a US Representative serve? 2 years
When was the Constitution written? 1787
What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy? Vote, serve in office
What was the cause of the Civil War? Slavery
What is the name of the national anthem? SSB

I knew my civics. In fact, I knew all 100 of the possible questions. Turns out my study skills from AP US History paid off. 

Then she asked me questions about my application—I only had one major change. I had received a traffic citation in April, the weekend of ISAS. CURSE YOU YELLOW LIGHT THAT TURNED RED!!!

I passed the interview. 
Then I waited—for such a short time, as the very next week, my letter for my naturalization ceremony arrived: August 23rd. The very first day of school.
We arrived to the USCIS center, and this time, all the officers and guards were jovial, kind, excited. They knew this was an special and joyous occasion.
As I was waiting in line to double check the information on my naturalization certificate, I hear ANDI DEMA???
It was the guard that makes me sweat. Making me sweat one more time. He needed my car keys, my girlfriend had forgotten her ID in the car. Phew.
When the officer checking the certificates asked how I was doing, I couldn’t stop smiling and crying. I told him I had waited my entire life for this day. 

As we waited for the ceremony to start, all 50 of us about to become newly-minted Americans, I talked with my neighbors, asked them their stories, listened to their struggles, found out where they were from, and sympathized with all of them. We were all here to become Americans.
You know, I cried a lot that day.
I cried as I sang the Star Spangled Banner, with my hand on my heart for the first time.
I cried during our Oath, where I renounced my Albanian allegiance, and swore allegiance to my new old home.
I cried because I had waited so long to have my home be my home.

Since I have become a US citizen, I have been re-energized. I have a voice. I do not have to cower and worry about my paperwork or my status. I can work. I can vote, and I will vote. I will no longer sweat in government buildings. Well, let’s be honest, I probably will. But I’ll sweat that sweet American sweat. 

My parents, who had to go back to Albania for three years, took their Oath of Naturalization the week before me, and this September 7th, we celebrated our 23rd anniversary of coming to America—all as US Citizens.

This Friday, I start my 29th year of my life as an Albanian American. 
This is where my family lives, where I was educated, where my sense of humor was cultivated, where my passion for sports, and pop culture, and history, and science, and the arts and especially theatre originated. This is my home. I can now finally truly call my home, my home. And I’m ready to strive to make this country of immigrants a better place. 
And I can’t wait.

Ms. Jeannie Bath, also known as The Tooth Fairy, serves our Oklahoma City neighbors in need as Good Shepherd Ministries' Dental Director. Good Shepherd Ministries shows God's love by offering medical and dental care to the uninsured and spiritual care to the broken. 

Ms. Bath's Speech:

Good Shepherd Ministries in OKC shows God’s love by offering medical and dental care to the uninsured and spiritual care to the broken.

This stained glass window was broken and restored.
At Good Shepherd, we get to partner with Jesus to make whole the shattered.
We acknowledge we are all shattered and we look to the Good Shepherd to make us whole.

Volunteers from all over the world help care for patients.
Patients from central Oklahoma City help educate and care for students in their training.
We depend on each other. You can volunteer with us at Good Shepherd Ministries!

Good Shepherd Ministries patients contribute financially at each appointment.
We depend on our community to fill in the gap between what patients can pay and the cost to provide care.
You can donate directly, sponsor or run the Miles for Smiles 5k, and get bunch of tickets to Good Sip!

Good Sip is September 21 PEACE DAY from 5:30-7:30pm at Bleu Garten, just down the block from Good Shepherd. See you there!
I’ll be happy to give you a tour of the clinic during Good Sip or anytime!

In The Three Little Teeth, there was a daaaaaark and scary mouth, fulllllllll of plaque and saliva…

Thank you for shining light into the dark, scary, shattered places of this world!
As Casady School prepares you with the skills and knowledge that serve as the foundation for success, continue to measure your success by the success of the community as we depend on one another in this pathway to peace.

Thank you welcoming me to Peace Week! 

At the LD, Father Blizzard introduced the word interdependence stating that the same way our parts of the body are connected, our lives are connected to other people. 

Mrs. Melody Hubert started to make pinwheels on 9/11.  On 9/12, Mrs. Hubert decided to explore sending the pinwheels to Monarch High School in Florida after Peace Day to help bring some inner peace to the school where the pinwheels for peace project started and a school who as of 9/13 was closed due to hurricane Irma.

During Activities, YAC met and took a Compass Leadership survey as well as learned about the projects going on this week.  Interested students sign-up by emailing Mrs. Clay or simple show-up and participate.  If interested in service credit, students need to sign-in on their name cards.

a. Writing letters of appreciation for those who serve
b. Making pinwheels to be displayed at the Peace Sign on Peace Day-We decided to send YAC pinwheels to Florida after Peace Week.
c. Volunteer assembling PD  pinwheels this week.  They can decorate them, but cannot put them together.  
d. Volunteer @ Boys and Girls Club Friday after school and Saturday
e. Participate in the Interfaith Youth Tour on Sunday.  Mrs. Clay has two tickets to give away first come, first served  $15 per ticket.

Activities this week
a. Walk for Water with Mr. Delgrosso
b. Host Capstone students for lunch at Calvert Saadia, maybe Aaron, Sophia, and Yasmin