Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part story of Daisy Waheda May, a Garden City Community College student, whose family left a refugee camp in Thailand and made their way to America and Garden City, where she began her journey to become an American citizen.
Daisy Waheda May, 21, was afraid she would fail in her quest, but she started the long process in Garden City High School working with Albert Kyaw, a Burmese translator at the school, who helped her with the process to apply for American citizenship.
May made her own study cards and spent hours and hours studying over four months for her test. She was also working at Walmart to pay for her car. During her breaks or when she had a minute of free time, she would study for her test. She bought an app so she could study on her phone.
One of her strengths was history. May had to learn where historical items were located, like the Statue of Liberty. She had to learn the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the founding fathers and how the checks-and-balances system works in the government. She loved history and did pretty good on that part of the test, but she had some trouble with the current leaders. She had just finished a section on the Civil War at GCCC when she took the test.
When testing day came early this year, she was surprised that it was held at an education center in the Garden City Zoo. All her hard work paid off and May passed the test and was ready for the next step in her journey, taking the oath.
On June 20, May and some of her family members made the trip to Dodge City to take the oath along with about 200 others. The facility was crowded and many of the family members had to stand during the ceremony.
Before she came to America, May said she didn't feel like she had a home. She didn't feel like she was a citizen of the country where where she was born.
But now, she feels like she has earned her title of American citizen.
"I worked hard to become a citizen. I wear it proudly," May said.
Another change when May became a citizen is she changed her name. Her birth name was Way He Da. When a person becomes a citizen, they have an option to change their name so she chose to combine her birth name into a single middle name, Waheda. Her new full new is Daisy Waheda May.
Family names are different in Burma, where her parents came from, and no two people in the family have the same last name. The family names are: parents Hu Tion (dad), Nu Ga Han (mom), and May's siblings, sister Ju Re Na, 26; brother Ra Pit, 18; brother Ah Da Sah, 16; brother Yazah Tion, 10; and sister Ma Hay Da, 7. The latter two were born in Garden City.
While May has completed her journey to citizenship, other family members have work to do. He dad struggled with the test and will have to take it again. Both her parents only speak Burmese, so that is an added challenge for them.
May's two youngest siblings were born in the U.S. and were automatic citizens.
The family doesn't plan on staying in Garden City. May will graduate from GCCC and her oldest brother will graduate from Garden City High School in May 2020. The family wants to move closer to relatives in Indiana or Missouri, so they are going to visit family in both states to decide where they will live.
"We're going to find a house before we leave," May said.
As the family continues its journey, their hope is that one day, all members will finally stand and repeat the oath to become U.S. citizens.
The Oath: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
Thailand is in Asia and sits next to Myanmar (Burma) on the west, Laos to the east, Cambodia to the southeast, the Gulf of Thailand to the south and Malaysia on the south end of the Thailand peninsula.