By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
Citizenship for immigrants has always been a thorny topic in the U.S. and never more so than recently with the controversy surrounding Central American children crossing the border without guardians.
However, the faculty and administration at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School are helping in a small way with citizenship classes taught by Elva Morales soon to be offered on campus. The class’s goal is to get its students ready for the citizenship tests they must take.
“They’ll go over the history of the U.S., they’ll go through all the information they need to become a citizen and as they prepare, we will get them ready to go and interview,” Norma Jean Dodge, Business & Industry Director at SCCC/ATS, said.
An enrollment day was done at the college on Aug. 3 and people were encouraged to sign up early for the class, which starts on Aug, 10. If people were unable to sign up that day, there are still a few days they can get enrolled. The class lasts until December and costs $100 per person.
However, Dodge said, if there is enough interest in the class, there is the possibility of adding a second class. For right now, however, the college is offering just the one session, adding the class usually averages about 20-25 people who typically come from the Guymon, Okla. area, the Texas area and outlying areas as well.
She also offered encouragement for people interested to go ahead and take the class.
“If they’ve been thinking about it for a while and maybe they’ve been afraid to go out and take the classes, Elva’s been great – she’s been nationally recognized for her work in providing the citizenship classes and the things she does in the community,” Dodge said. “She makes them feel comfortable, she answers questions and she goes way beyond the call of her job in trying to help them as much as possible when they have questions.”
Another advantage Dodge mentioned is the class is being given here in Liberal so people from nearby won’t have to do much of a commute.
“If there’s a need in the community, we’ll provide it so people don’t have to travel as far,” Dodge said. “Our main reason is to offer it so people won’t have to travel too far and it’s right here at their back door.”
Students of these citizenship classes at SCCC/ATS have done well in the past and Dodge said she expects nothing less from this semester’s group.
“I expect people in the class will get what they’re wanting and hopefully the questions they need and prepare them for when they go and do their interview and that’s the main goal, get them ready to obtain their citizenship so that’s what I’m expecting,” Dodge said. “They usually do pretty well and the majority do get their citizenship by the time they’re done with the course.”
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