As election day approached last year, Southminster resident Ellen Palmer asked staffer Beverly Griffith if she planned to vote.

When Griffith said she couldn’t because she was born in Jamaica and wasn’t a citizen of the U.S., Palmer did more than urge her to apply for citizenship.

She became Griffith’s tutor, drilling her on the intricacies of civics, history and other principles of American democracy in preparation for taking the test.

Griffith’s coworkers at the continuing care retirement community encouraged Griffith, as well.

After several months of studying, Griffith and her husband was called in for fingerprinting and scheduled for their individual interviews.

On Oct. 19, their American dream became reality. They passed with flying colors. Palmer proudly joined them for their swearing-in ceremony.

After the ceremony, Griffith spent the afternoon with Environmental Services’ Deborah Spears, who walked her around Southminster so that staff and residents could congratulate her on her big day.

“Now I have the privilege of voting, and I can make my annual trip to visit family in Jamaica without any green card issues,” Griffith said. “I’m happy to be a citizen of this great country and look forward to what the future holds.”