Long Road Leads to Citizenship


Mayte Arzuza

Emma Ingrum , Editor

     Mayte Arzuza is an ELL Aide (English Language Learners) at the Gunnison High School who has just recently acquired her US citizenship. Originally from Columbia, when she was 38 years old she moved to Canada with her husband. She lived there for six years. While there, she got her Canadian Citizenship and then moved to the United States in 2015 when her husband was offered a job at Western Colorado University. The process of her citizenship was only supposed to take three years, but because of the COVID pandemic it unfortunately took five. Around the time of early June 2022, Mrs. Arzuza applied to be an American citizen. This process included spending three full years in the US, and collecting documents such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, and multiple other informational documents. As of January this year, she attended an interview in Denver and was finally able to check the box labeled “American Citizen.”

    In Mrs. Arzuza’s free time she enjoys cross country skiing, and she began snowshoeing with her two dogs when she moved to Colorado. “ I’ve learned over the years that you don’t belong where you’re born, you belong where you are,” said Mrs. Arzuza  when she was asked how she likes living here. When Mrs. Arzuza arrived in Gunnison, the first thing she did was connect with the community. “I just wanted a way of connecting with the community so bad,” she stated. She took positions helping in the community such as interpreting for patients at  Gunnison Valley Health (GVH) and helping interpret for Axis Health Systems. While working at the school, Mrs. Arzuza balances multiple responsibilities such as interpreting for students, and occasionally substituting and teaching the classes she interprets for. “When I walk through the halls of this school, I feel like Wonder Woman,” Mrs. Arzuza responded after being asked what she liked about teaching at the school. Mayte Arzuza is an amazing role model for the students at the Gunnison high school and she demonstrates how far focus and dedication can get anyone willing to try hard enough.