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No place like home

Woman earns citizenship after 50 years in U.S.

Sylvia Buoniconti and her husband Louis proudly show off the certificate of congratulations given to her by the Wales Board of Selectmen upon receiving her official citizenship status. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
March 24, 2010
WALES — Sylvia Buoniconti is a woman about town.

She volunteers at the food pantry, serves meals for the senior lunch program and has worked to apply for grants that would help solve the flooding issues in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Wales.

A couple years ago, Buoniconti was instrumental in helping the town obtain a grant to assess what needed to be done in the area in order to remedy the water problem. The grant was awarded, and per town procedure, had to be accepted by a town meeting vote.

After all her hard work though, Buoniconti could not vote to accept the grant. She was not an American citizen.

On March 4 of this year however, 50 years after she first set foot on American soil, Buoniconti achieved that long-time goal: citizenship.

In 1960, Kathleen Sylvia Curtis — known to all as Sylvia — arrived in Boston with her parents and four siblings from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was 15.

Her family moved in order for her father to take a job with his cousin in a lawnmower business after he lost his job in an aircraft factory.

Three siblings, all in their 20s, opted to stay behind in Ireland. Sylvia would not see them again for more than 40 years.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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