Mrs. McGuinness Earns US Citizenship
Carly Ho, Staff Writer
October 12, 2012 • 176 views
Filed under Personalities
As the young teenager stepped off the plane, her eyes were wide open with fear. No matter which way she looked there was not one familiar feature in sight. This strange new country would be just the beginning of her new life.
Catherine McGuinness, an AP Human Geography teacher, gained her US citizenship on Oct. 1. Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, McGuinness left her hometown in 2001 and moved to Amarillo, Texas, seeking better education and to escape the high crime rates in South Africa.
“After the test I was excited. They told me I got a chance to vote,” McGuinness said.
Even though she hadn’t been a citizen until now, McGuinness was able to teach because she had a green card. She grew up in Bloemfontein, one of the three capitals in South Africa.
“Life was very different, I grew up on a farm. I started driving at a young age. Our relationships with people were different, and what we considered more important than other people,” McGuinness said.
At a young age, McGuinness moved to Amarillo, Texas, which was a culture shock to her. She lost some of her past but instead gained a new future.
“I was very scared and overwhelmed. I was a teenager and didn’t want to move. I lost my favorite sports, rugby, netball, and cricket, but gained baseball. We lost our unique food, but found queso.”
Coming to the United States was a whole new experience for Mrs. McGuinness. She attended Amarillo High School, which wasn’t quite as familiar as her school back home.
“School was completely different here, very relaxed compared to where I went to school.”
At first, moving to a foreign country was a surprise for Mrs. McGuinness. Later on, though, she learned to appreciate living in America.
“After my first three months in the states, I loved the new opportunities that were available here and understood the sacrifice my parents made to get us over here.”
The moment McGuinness will never forget was when she took her oath during her naturalization. They played the United States anthem and Proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood.
“During the oath it was very emotional. Everyone was crying. I am looking forward to adopting my new country,” McGuinness said.