Ms. Gray obtains her U.S. citizenship


Simone Gray

Simone Gray is granted citizenship in September of 2019 after migrating to the United States in 2003.

Most people start off a new school year with new school supplies, but Spanish teacher Simone Gray started off the school year with her newfound citizenship to the United States.

Originally from Rio, Brazil, Gray traveled to America in 2003 to study Biology/Chemistry at Rust College in Holly Spring, Mississippi.

One of the biggest difficulties Gray had to face was the culture shock.

“I’m from Rio, which is a big city, like New York. Moving to a small town like Holly Springs was very difficult…I thought I was good with English before moving to America, but hearing all the accents made it difficult to understand,” Gray said.

The culture shock wasn’t the only thing Gray had difficulty navigating, obtaining her visa and green card was hard too. Her travel agency recorded one of her questions wrong, which prohibited her from renewing it. She applied for her green card after receiving her degree.

“I got married, so then I had to apply for a green card. It took us about two years to apply because of the fees…I applied in August of 2011, and I was able to get my green card in May of 2012,” said Gray.

Gray was finally able to apply for citizenship after having her green card for five years. After getting fingerprinted and passing an English and civics test, she was able to become a U.S. citizen. Now as a US citizen, she is looking forward to do something a lot of Americans take for granted: vote.

“That’s the one thing that I am really excited about–is being able to vote. Being here you are affected by all the decisions that happen in the election, but are unable to vote:[it] has always been something that bothered me,” said Gray.

As an immigrant, Graves wants to spread awareness and education about immigrant plights.

“The day before, I was talking to my class about the paths to become a legal resident. But for many people, there is no path, “ said Gray. “People need to be informed about the process because many Americans are not… It is easy to judge people if you do not understand everything they have been through.”