Hawke Earns U.S. Citizenship
Sept. 14, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Becoming an official United States citizen is no easy task. Not only are there set requirements of prior residency, but one also has to learn more about the history of the U.S. in less time than it takes for American school kids to learn it all in the 13 plus years of education. Despite the all the tests and red tape, more than 700,000 pass the test annually and earn the right to become an American citizen.
For the last three years, Auburn head swimming coach Brett Hawke has not only been guiding the Tigers to national and conference titles, he has also been working towards becoming a U.S. citizen. On Sept. 10, 2009, Hawke reached that target when he was sworn in as an official citizen of the United States of America in Atlanta.
"I'm really excited to finally get to this point," Hawke said. "It has always been a dream of mine to become a citizen of this country and I'm happy that it is now official.
"Becoming a citizen also means a lot because it really completes my family since they all are American citizens as well."
The Sydney, Australia, native first came to the U.S. in 1996 on a student visa. He attended Auburn from 1997 to 1999 while also swimming for the Tigers. As an athlete, Hawke experienced tremendous success in the United States, winning nine NCAA titles and playing a central role on Auburn's first NCAA championship team in 1997.
After three years in the States, Hawke returned to his home land and represented Australia in two Olympic Games, as well as many other international competitions.
Hawke returned to America in 2006 and has been here since, working on his goal of citizenship. Three years, one U.S. history and English test later, the goal became a reality.
Now, with this major hurdle under his belt, Hawke can focus on the new aspirations that come with being an American.
"I've always wanted to represent the United States on the international level," Hawke said. "Now I have the opportunity to do that and possibly be a coach for the 2012 Olympic team. That would be a great accomplishment."
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