Utica, NY (WIBX) – Cheers filled the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building in Utica, as 60 people took the final step to become U-S citizens.

America… America… God shed His grace on thee…

During a Naturalization Ceremony presided over by Judge David Hurd, citizens of 18 countries, including Brazil, Poland and the Sudan, took the Oath of Allegiance.

Guest speaker Dave Mathis, from Oneida County Workforce Development, encouraged everyone to take advantage of their new rights, including voting.

“Yesterday, today and tomorrow, America is a work in progress,” Mathis said. “The way it changes is shaped by who use their power and opportunities of citizenship  to change the course of society.”

Angalina Aniek also spoke after taking her oath. The MVCC nursing student came to Utica five years ago from Sudan, and said it was the easiest decision she had ever made.

Each new citizen was warmly welcomed, receiving certificates, flags and other handouts from local groups.