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School Teacher Becomes U.S. Citizen—And So Many Of Her Students Show Up, They Didn’t Fit In The Courtroom

Elementary school teacher Annmarie Small just became an American citizen—with the help and support of her students.

Small, who came to the United States 18 years ago from Jamaica with her son, was hoping for a better life with more opportunities.

“I was struggling financially in Jamaica and even having a master’s degree, I wasn’t able to make ends meet,” she said.

Small was hired at Cornerstone Learning Academy in Tallahassee and became part of a community that valued and supported her.


“They have shown me that America […] is more than a place of glamour, fancy cars, red carpets, ball gowns and stilettos—though I do love my stilettos,” Small said in her speech to the courtroom as she became a citizen. “America is beyond just the material things.”

As Small took her oath the become a citizen, a special group of small humans were there to cheer her on—her students. In fact, there were so many of Smalls’ former and current students in attendance, they didn’t all fit in the courtroom.

Annmarie Small


“I’m really proud of her and I think she’s pretty proud too,” one of Small’s current students, Kalliope Flom, said.

Small said she hopes her students always remember what is important about America: “It doesn’t matter if you’re from a different country, everybody is the same.”

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