Rice Lake school celebrates staff member who passed U.S. naturalization test

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 2:32 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Dahlia Wigchers has been working as an English Second Language Aide for the Rice Lake School District for the last four years.

“We help kids, families, we get connections with them and we are happy with this ESL program,” she says.

Her journey to get here started seven years ago.

“In Mexico, I worked as a teacher in a high school for ten years.”

When she and her family hopped on a plane, in search of the “American Dream”.

“Everything was new to me,” she says. “It was the middle of December. It was very cold, I remember getting to the cities and oh my god that airport was so cold and freezing.”

On Friday, that dream became reality, when students and staff came together to celebrate Dahlia passing the U.S. naturalization test.

“I couldn’t think of any better way to celebrate our staff appreciation week, than to have a celebration for Dahlia,” says Hilltop Elementary School Principal Natalie Springer.

Springer says Dahlia’s work with the district is invaluable.

“Not only does she speak the same language of some of our families who don’t speak English, but she also understands their culture, the conflicts they might be going through with coming to the United States.”

And serves as an example to students, to never give up on their dreams.

“She can very much show kids what it means to just keep working for something that you believe in and don’t stop until you get to where you’re going,” Springer says.

“It was a long journey for me and for us and my family,” Dahlia says.

Dahlia’s daughter also passed the test to become a U.S. citizen.

They will attend a swearing in ceremony next month where their path to becoming U.S. citizens will be complete.

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