Journey to Citizenship

Picture of swearing in ceremonyI am a tutor with the Reading Program for the Santa Clara County Library system and have been tutoring Angelica for close to four years. Several years ago, Angelica began to talk about becoming a citizen. I gave her several resources that might help her in the process. About a year ago in April, she went to a meeting that she had heard about where she could receive free help and guidance in filling out the citizenship application and the process involved. She decided to go ahead and sent her citizenship application in at the end of April.

Beginning in May, I started quizzing her every week on the 100 questions and answers that she needed to know when it came time for her interview. I would ask her 1/3 to 1/2 of the questions every week to help her remember the answers. In the beginning, whenever asked about the name of the person in a current political position (ie. Vice president, Speaker of the House, etc.), she many times answered “John Roberts” until she finally memorized that he is the Chief Justice. We also went over the citizenship application itself because we knew that questions would be asked on this as well. Asking her the 100 questions went on and on for 10 months until her citizenship interview was finally scheduled for February 26, 2016. I asked her to text me right after her interview to let me know the results.

She passed the interview with flying colors! The interviewer only had to ask her 6 of the possible 10 citizenship questions because she got them all correct. And of course, one of the questions was, “Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?”!  Angelica told me that it really helped her to practice the questions so many times because she felt that if left up to her, she might have left the review off to the last minute.

Angelica’s Citizenship Oath Ceremony was scheduled for March 24th.  I felt SO honored when she asked me if I would like to go to the ceremony with her.  When the big day arrived, I drove Angelica and her four daughters to the ceremony in Campbell.  It was very moving to see Angelica and 454 other people from over 50 countries take the oath to become United States citizens. I am so very proud of all her determination and hard work to become a citizen and have told her so. It makes me feel like I have had a small part in changing someone's life for the better, and of course, I now have the added benefit that I can also answer all the citizenship questions as well! 

Written by Karen McPherson, Reading Program Tutor in Gilroy, California.
What an uplifting story! So much more than reading was going on; it was literacy in the true sense. How fortunate you were to be part of this woman's quest, and how fortunate she was to have a program - and a volunteer - which took her needs to heart - available to her. Good job!
3/31/2016 1:43:04 AM

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