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Program coordinator becomes U.S. citizen

A dream to say “I am an American” became a reality for Lone Star College–CyFair’s Kata Fountain when she was recently sworn in as a citizen of the United States in a Jan. 24 ceremony.

Fountain was born and raised in Hungary. At age 18, she “set foot on the land of freedom” in New York City as an au-pair with a goal to learn, and perhaps one day teach, English. The support, encouragement and acceptance she found in America made Fountain want to become a citizen – a goal that would take her more than decade.

“I have lived a life where choices were dictated for citizens of Hungary and where lives were controlled. But I knew a happier place was waiting for me to compensate the lack of opportunities in my life,” said Fountain.

As her dream of U.S. citizenship came true alongside more than a thousand others with that same dream, Fountain said her heart was racing.

“Somehow, saying ‘I am an American’ fulfills the power that any human being desires to have: freedom, happiness and equality. America truly symbolizes the idea that dreams can come true and lives can be lived for the better,” said Fountain, beaming with pride.

Fountain works at Lone Star College–CyFair as a program coordinator for the Coastal Region GREAT Center, which provides professional development for teachers in several program areas from English as a Second Language and General Educational Development to family literacy and workforce literacy. She is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration.

In addition to better educational and employment opportunities as an American, Fountain is ready to use her new voting privilege.

“Because my husband is in the military service I do follow politics and want to have a voice in the next election. To me that’s very important,” she said. “If people become a U.S. citizen just for that one reason, it makes a huge difference, not just in their lives, but in others as well.”
For those interested, Lone Star College–CyFair offers U.S. Citizenship classes at the Lone Star College–Fairbanks Center. This course helps legalized permanent residents meet the objectives for the INS interview for citizenship eligibility. While focusing on the 100 questions produced by the INS for the interview, it helps students acquire basic knowledge of U.S. history and government in order to become better and more informed citizens of this country.

The next U.S Citizenship class will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays, April 13 through May 11. For information, contact Irina Patten, who also teaches ESL, at 832-782-5053 or e-mail her at irina.p.patten@lonestar.edu.