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Wilshire student honored at naturalization ceremony

Gavin at the Naturalization Ceremony

Gavin Betancourt (left) takes a photo with his teacher, Melissa Salazar-Nelson, Joseph B. De Mott, The Honorable Xavier Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Fischer, principal at Wilshire.

Gavin Betancourt is following his sister’s footsteps to success. The fifth grade student at Wilshire Elementary School placed in the top three for the “Celebrate America Writing Contest.” Only six fifth-grade students were chosen as winners– out of nearly 100 from across San Antonio – who submitted poems, essays, and short stories on the subject, “Why I Am Glad America Is A Nation of Immigrants.”

Betancourt’s sister, Promise Pitman, placed first in last year’s contest, marking the first time siblings have participated since the program’s San Antonio launch. Gavin was recognized at an official Naturalization ceremony on May 28 in the Edgewood Theatre of Performing Arts. The young student was excited to read his entry before an audience of new United States citizens.

Gavin and Promise

Gavin and his sister Promise celebrate being the first siblings to be finalists in the writing contest.

“It's always exciting to see the students as they witness the impact of immigration first hand,” says Joseph B. De Mott, founding partner of De Mott, McChesney, Curtright & Armendáriz and local program facilitator. “I can't think of a greater way to teach them about what it means to be American.”

The mother of Gavin and Promise, Bianca Pitman, couldn’t be more proud. “Just like we pass stories down to our children and grandchildren, now we’re passing this contest down from generation to generation,” said Bianca. “I’m proud of my kids for taking part in it.”

The Celebrate America writing contest is sponsored nationally by the American Immigration Council, and facilitated locally by the law firm De Mott, McChesney, Curtright & Armendáriz.

Naturalization Ceremony

The Honorable Xavier Rodriguez asks those attendance to raise their right hand as they take the U.S. Oath of Allegiance at the Naturalization Ceremony.


Posted on May 29, 2014