GISD counselor becomes citizen, first-time voter

Naaman Forest High School counselor Raquel Gillham fell in love with the United States 19 years ago. After earning her degree in education, the Brazilian came to this country to learn English. What started as a short trip became her permanent home due to reaching important milestones on U.S. soil. Gillham became a full-time student, receiving her teaching certificate and master’s degree in counseling. She also met her husband and had two children. Now, the proud Ranger has accomplished two more goals—becoming a U.S. citizen and a registered voter ready to cast her November ballot.

“I love this country so much and have been so blessed,” she expressed. “For many years, I held my Permanent Resident status. I think a way to fully participate and contribute to society is to vote, and that was one of my main motivations to apply for citizenship. I am so proud to be an American.”

Gillham became a U.S. citizen earlier this year. Although she’s experienced voting in her native Brazil, she’s thrilled to participate in the civic duty as an American citizen.

“I am eager to get up in the morning, drive to the nearest voting place and be united with so many others in the country exercising the simplest but greatest privilege a citizen can have,” she said. “Voting is like having a voice. It is important for students to understand that we live in an organized society and all of us are affected by the choices that are made. To vote is to exercise the right to choose who will represent your ideals, your goals and your future.”

The November ballot will include big-ticket items like presidential and congressional candidates. District residents will also see Garland ISD’s Tax Rate Election (TRE) as the last item on the ballot. 

Early voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Election Day is Nov. 3. Learn more about the TRE by visiting our TRE website. Generate a personal sample ballot and see voting locations on the Dallas County Elections website.