Yanet Viamontes Lopez has been the cafeteria manager at Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School for three years

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 19, 2021 03:28 PM
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At an Oklahoma elementary school, a beloved staff member recently walked through a hallway full of students to chants of "USA! USA!" after passing her U.S. citizenship test.

Yanet Viamontes Lopez, a cafeteria manager at Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School, passed her test to become a U.S. citizen earlier this month. Dozens of students surprised her to celebrate the achievement — a sweet moment that was featured on PEOPLE (The TV Show!).

"A HUGE SHOUTOUT to Ms. Yanet, our sweet cafeteria manager, who passed her test to become a US citizen!!! HOORAY!!!" a message on the school's Facebook page says of Lopez, who is originally from Cuba.

The school uploaded a video showing students clapping for Lopez as she walks down a hallway, seemingly taken back with emotion.

Other pictures posted on social media show her waving a miniature American flag and hugging other staff members in celebration.

"Every morning Ms. Yanet walks into the office and proclaims 'Good Morning, Pretty Ladies' and with a smile and a laugh she always starts the day with a positive message!" another post on the school's page said.

"I am so excited for Ms. Yanet and the realization of one of her dreams in passing her citizenship test!" it continued. "We laughed that she would know more than those of us born in the U.S.A. I am honored to work with one best US citizens I know!

Cafeteria Manager Passes Citizenship Test
Credit: PEOPLE

According to KWTV, Lopez has had her eyes set on becoming a citizen since she was 14 years old. After receiving her green card, she had to wait five years before applying for citizenship.

"You have to learn everything about the constitution, this great country, and that's all," she told the outlet. "You feel really good when you do it."

Lopez told KWTV that she is most excited to be able to vote in future elections.

"I have never before voted in my life," she said, "so this is really important for me because the vote is democracy."

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