PAPILLION, Neb. -- A total of 36 new U.S. citizens from 18 countries celebrated their newly minted citizenship at a historic building last week.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. District Court of Nebraska welcomed the new citizens during a special naturalization ceremony Saturday at the historic 1890 Portal School in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Magistrate Judge Michael Nelson administered the Oath of Allegiance.

The 36 citizenship candidates came from countries across the globe, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo and Vietnam. They live in Aurora, Grand Island, Kearney, Lexington, Lincoln, Omaha, Rogers, Schuyler, South Sioux City.

Each year, USCIS celebrates the connection between the Constitution and citizenship and highlights what it means to be a citizen of the United States by holding special naturalization ceremonies across the country. This ceremony was one of many that took place as part of USCIS’ annual Constitution Week and Citizenship Day celebration.

USCIS often participates in naturalization ceremonies at museums, schools, libraries and other notable locations to celebrate the conclusion of an immigrant’s journey to citizenship.

The Portal School was an active country school until 1993 when the state closed its doors and the remaining students moved to town school. The Papillon Area Historical Society, the sponsor of the event, acquired it and moved it into town in 1995 and undertook the restoration.