Chloë Woest has lived in the United States more than a decade, but it wasn’t until March that she officially called it home, as that was when her family became citizens.

“It was really exciting. It’s just a really emotional process,” said Woest, who was born in South Africa. “For my dad it’s really been like a 25-year process from the years before he moved to the United States. It was just a huge relief, honestly. It’s really cool to say we live here and belong here.”

The Woest’s moved from South Africa when Chloe was 5. There was a six-year wait for green cards and then five more years until they could apply for citizenship.

Because of unrest back home, Woest hasn’t been back. Her grandparents still live in South Africa and occasionally visit, but she has no other family in the U.S.

Woest is thriving in her new home. She’s a star on Fossil Ridge High School’s track and field team and has signed to compete at the University of Idaho.

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