naturalization ceremony in ct

The Hope, the Joy, the Happiness: Student Marthe Kingsley Captures the Spirit of Citizenship in Poetry

On December 12, 2018, Goodwin College was proud to host a naturalization ceremony at which individuals from 22 counties were welcomed as new American citizens. One of the highlights of the event was “America,” a poem written and performed by Goodwin student Marthe Kingsley:

Mother of all nations
Everyone is moved by your hospitality
Refugees find consolation and refuge in you
Immigrants find opportunities for better life and future
Connecticut, the land of the Constitution, my new homeland
All my life I will remember the Hope, the Joy, and the Happiness you brought into my life.

Originally from Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, Marthe is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Management and Leadership at Goodwin. Afterwards, program director Michael Wolter, Ph.D., asked her a few questions about her experience at the ceremony.

Q: How did you come to be selected to speak at the naturalization ceremony in December?

I wrote the poem “America” in 2015. I first shared the poem in 2017 by sending it to the Goodwin College poetry club. I was honored and surprised to see my poem published in The Beacon, the College’s literary magazine. Professor Nicole Miller from Student Services was moved by the poem and asked if I would like to read it at the ceremony. My response was affirmative, and she contacted Mr. Richard Shechtman, the event coordinator, who thought the idea would add to participants’ first experience as new citizens.

Q: How did you select the topic you spoke about?

In the poem, America is personalized, a metaphor that gives consistency to the recognition and gratitude that every new citizen feels. I spoke about gratitude because becoming a citizen in America is synonymous with more opportunities and even more consideration. Therefore, it is important and worthwhile to be grateful to this nation.

Q: How did your experience in the Management and Leadership program help prepare you for such an important speech?

The Management and Leadership program builds crucial skills such as self-awareness, oral and written communication, emotional intelligence, and resourcefulness. These skills improved and enhanced my self-confidence. Classes such as team dynamic and individual skills, talent development and performance assessment, intellectual discovery strategies, facilitating group, positive mentoring, leadership theory and practice in the organization, and organization ethics are very helpful in becoming a manager and leader.

Q: What is it like being a leader and role model for other future citizens of the United States?

Being a leader or a role model is foremost an honor and a recognition from those who might consider me in that light. At the same time, this becoming someone who people can trust means additional responsibility and learning to lead with humility.

Click here to learn more about the Management and Leadership program at Goodwin College.