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Citizenship classes start Jan. 23 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 January 2018 10:29

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



Immigration has been a tough topic in recent times and for those looking to take steps toward U.S. citizenship, staff at Seward County Community College will be available to help. 

The SCCC Business and Industry office will soon be offering citizenship classes to those eligible. The classes will take place Tuesday evenings from 5:45 to 7:45 from Jan. 23 to April 10 at the Colvin Adult Learning Center at 930 N. Kansas in Room C111. The class is $100 per person and Janeth Vazquez will be the instructor.

“I think a lot of people who aren't quite sure about getting their citizenship yet just need that nudge and maybe this class will help them get that and help them feel comfortable and ready,” Business and Industry Director Norma Jean Dodge said. “I'm excited Janeth has decided to teach it this semester because she's got a lot to offer. The main thing is a lot of people are thinking 'I want to get my citizenship, but I don't know where to start,' and this is a great way to do that.”

“For me, it's about teaching the class. It's going to primarily be in English, but the fact that I'm bilingual will help the students feel more at ease so if they have any questions, I can explain the question to them in Spanish so they can fully understand,” Vazquez added. “I became a naturalized citizen here within the past seven or eight years, so I'm still pretty familiar with the process and what it's like to go in. Having that experience myself, I think I'll really be able to relate that to my students so they feel more comfortable with the process.”

The class will cover not only the application process but also U.S. history, the interview process with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, among other topics. This will be Vazquez’s first year teaching the class, and she said she is looking forward to helping her students. 

“It's more about seeing people in my community become citizens, I'm really excited to be helping them with this journey,” Vazquez said. “I think if we can encourage more people in the community to become citizens ... I've seen how our election numbers are frequently really low, so I'm hoping with this class, I'll not only be teaching them about becoming citizens but also helping them learn about exercising their rights as citizens. It's great we'll be helping them with some of the history because like Norma Jean was saying earlier sometimes we forget some of the questions and answers so it's great we'll be educating them on some history of the country probably a lot of them have been part of most of their lives. It's also great that in the future they'll be able to exercise their right to vote so hopefully that will also help them feel more integrated into the community.”

“It will also help them keep up with some of what's going on in the world currently and also how the branches of government work,” Dodge added. “I'm hoping these classes, especially with Janeth coming on board to teach, I'm hoping this will be a great way to help calm some of those nerves and help them feel comfortable with the process. This is a great way to get all of that started.”

The next enrollment dates for the class will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 16 to 18 at the Colvin Center. Vazquez said she has high hopes for her upcoming class. 

“I hope to see my classes all at full capacity. I'm hoping we have successful classes so people can be successful with this step,” Vazquez said. “The class is open to everyone, I will do my best to make everyone feel welcome. My ultimate goal is to help my students feel excited about becoming citizens and their interview. I want them to walk out more confident and more ready to take that step toward citizenship.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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