At Oliver Elementary School in central Texas students and teachers gathered in the hallways to surprise a cafeteria worker who finally became a citizen of the United States by throwing her a celebratory parade.
Originally from Mexico Maria Ponce came to the states 18 years ago but has been working at the school for the past five years. She has worked tirelessly to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and was granted that wish on May 3.
In an emotional and heartwarming video, the entire school body lines the hallways of the school waving American flags to congratulate Ponce as she walked through the crowd.
Ponce was very surprised and brought to tears later saying, “It was a special day.”
The elementary school’s principal Kyle Chambers said it was not only a touching moment for Ponce, who has developed close friendships with staff and students, but also a very important learning opportunity for the students.
Chambers said, “I talked to the kids about the process someone would go through to become a citizen, how hard that was and the hard work that it took to got there, kind of how hard work makes our dreams come true.”
The event was made that much better by Ponce’s teenage son, daughter, and husband being able to be a part of the celebration.
Ponce said of the heartwarming parade, “I work in the elementary school with the little ones. They make me happy every day. I love my job.”