Perkins High School senior Angie Leckrone is a lot of things: Senior class president, an executive officer for the Perkins chapter of National Honor Society, and vice president of the Biology Club. She’s a member of Move 2 Stand and serves at The Chapel on Sundays.
And, now, Angie is a citizen of the United States of America. On Friday, February 4, she took her Oath of Allegiance during a Naturalization ceremony at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland.
“Being a U.S. citizen opens a lot of opportunities for me,” Angie said. “I can vote. I can hold positions.”
Indeed, Angie “is involved in everything,” said her PHS Counselor Cortney Feige. “Angie is one of the most sincere and motivated students I’ve worked with. She’s always willing to help, and she’s just a genuine person.”
After turning 18 in August and becoming a legal adult, Angie was motivated to get her U.S. citizenship. Her younger sister, Sanli, is a 3rd grader at Meadowlawn Intermediate School. Because she was born in the United States, Sanli is already a U.S. citizen.
Angie has been in the United States – and a student of the Perkins Local Schools – since she was 7 years old. After her mother married her step-father, Angie came to the United States from Guangzhou, a Chinese city with 15 million people.
In Sandusky, she found a significantly smaller town, where people traveled by car, not subway train. People here, she said, were very cordial and welcoming, which helped her assimilate much faster to the new environment.
“It was definitely a new experience,” Angie recalled. She came to Perkins Schools and joined the 2nd Grade class of teacher Susan Rulong at Meadowlawn Intermediate School. Angie, who speaks with a very slight Chinese accent, credits Mrs. Rulong with tutoring her after school and helping her learn English.
“What a quick study she was,” Mrs. Rulong said. “She worked so hard to become the fine student that she is today. It is such an honor to have worked with her, and to have been a part of her journey to become an American citizen. I'm extremely fond and proud of her.”
Meanwhile, Angie also forged long-lasting friendships with classmates and soon felt at home, she said.
“By the 3rd or 4th Grade, I had already caught on pretty well, and I felt the previous constricting language barrier lifted,” Angie said. “I felt like anyone else.”
China remains a big part of her life. She last returned to China in 2018 to visit with her grandparents, and has strong ties with her Chinese heritage.
“It’s my birthplace, and it’s still my home,” Angie said.
As her senior year winds down, Angie is looking ahead to college life. She has been accepted into Ohio State, and plans to continue her education along a pre-med track.
“Whatever path she takes, I expect Angie to excel,” said PHS Principal Jeff Harbal. “Not only is Angie an outstanding student, she is a leader and friend to all students and teachers. And now, she is a citizen. Welcome to the U.S., Angie.”