By: Kat Berger ’18
Oluwatimileyin “Timi” Idowu ’17 recently joined the majority of us here at Randolph-Macon Academy with American citizenship. After all his friends congratulated him enthusiastically, I got the chance to sit down and get a feel for how he sees his newfound identity as an American.
Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, Timi has already been in the U.S. for ten years and has been living on a Permanent Residence Visa. His parents are already citizens, so no test was taken, as is standard procedure for most incoming citizens. So why did Timi make this move? It was partly for the convenience. It’s easier to travel with a U.S. passport than with a visa, which complicates things heavily. In addition, Timi also intends to stay in America for the majority of his life. He now will be able to participate in exclusively American processes such as voting. Since Timi has lived here for most of his life, he feels as if this decision was an important step towards long-term benefits.
During the citizenship ceremony, Timi had to watch a video with others becoming citizens on what it means to be an American citizen. They received a flag after signing some papers stating their citizenship rights. They then proceeded to watch another video congratulating them on their citizenship.
When he came back to R-MA, a special flag was presented, one that was raised the morning he became a citizen, one that was saluted by each and every cadet at R-MA, standing in the freezing cold of February. Everyone celebrated Timi when he came back from New Jersey, including his mentor, Coach Frank Sullivan.
R-MA Commandant Col Gary Sadler, USAF Retired, was also pleased, stating, “For most of us, we are born American, but we take it for granted. To become a citizen of the U.S. is a choice. A choice to be a part of a nation of people who value liberty and the freedom to choose unlimited opportunity, [a people] who are committed to protecting those rights for all generations and all people.”