The Main Stream

Jul 4, 2013 8:57 PM by Erika Flores

82-year-old surprises family at naturalization ceremony

TUCSON - Twenty people from ten different countries became citizens on Independence Day at the Saguaro National Park.

Among them was an 82-year-old woman who studied on her own through sickness for the 100 question test.

Priscilla Ruan said it's always been her dream to become a U.S. citizen.

She actually kept it a secret from her family for two years while working on this goal.

Ruan couldn't stop smiling as she celebrated with her family.

She said the hardest part of her path to citizenship was keeping it a secret.

"So that my sons wouldn't notice, so that I could surprise them," said Ruan.

In order to surprise them, she had to study for the 100 question test by herself.

"When I needed to figure something out, I had to research it and not ask them anything so that they wouldn't know," said Ruan.

But she didn't give up.

"There were 70 to 80 people there, and then only 10 or 12 of us made it through," said Ruan.

It took her two years of paperwork, interviews, studying and testing.

Once she got the decision letter:

"She called me and said hey, ‘I have a surprise for you, I'm going to be a U.S. Citizen and I'll meet you there on 4th of July,'" said her son Emilio Moya.

It was a big surprise for her whole family.

"'Mom, really? You're not joking?' And she said, ‘No. I'm going to be a U.S. Citizen. I already passed everything,'" said Moya.

As Ruan wheeled her walker to sign her certificate, her family cheered her on.

They said this almost didn't happen for her.

"She was so sick last year. She almost passed away," said Maria Moya, Ruan's daughter-in-law.

But now, with certificate in hand, she can say she's accomplished her life's goal of becoming a U.S. citizen.

"I thank God who helped me get here who put me on this path," said Ruan.

She's delighted to continue celebrating with her family during this Independence Day.

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