Classes help students become US citizens


Courtesy photo by Janeth Vazquez

After a lot of studying and hard work, students show off their certificates for earning their citizenship.

Maria Coronado

Janeth Vazquez hopes the US citizenship course she teaches at Seward County Community College can be useful for students planning on becoming citizens. 

With the House of Representatives passing The American Dream and Promise Act and sending it on to the Senate, it’s possible that more might need to enroll in the class that goes over what is on the citizenship test and interviews.

Vazquez is also excited about this proposition in an economical aspect. She claims that many of those immigrants are people needed in the workforce. From working at the hospital Vazquez knows many of those nurses are part of DACA and without it, Vazquez said “South West Kansas would really struggle.”

“We would lose nurses, teachers, social workers, if DACA went away. There are a lot of DACA recipients and undocumented workers in our community that most people wouldn’t imagine,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez continued by saying many of those people “unfortunately throughout these years have had to hide that in the shadows.”

Vazquez was driven to teach the class because of her immigrant grandfather. When Vazquez was in middle school her grandfather studied the interview questions with her every single day. She says he knew everything, he just needed the confidence to take the test.

Janeth Vazquez writes study helps on the board during class. She encourages her students to rewrite these to help them memorize key points that might be on the citizenship test. (Crusader File Photo)

Vazquez wanted to teach a class where she could give her students more confidence because that was all her grandfather lacked at the time. Vazquez says her students “need that confidence boost” to make them feel prepared and confident of accomplishing this goal. 

In the class, students learn the application process, U.S. history, about the U.S. government, and practice possible interview questions. The classes are offered every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.

Vazquez is an immigrant herself, so she identifies with the process of becoming a citizen.

“I always say it’s gonna be my last year, but there is a really big need so I continue to teach the class,” Vazquez said. 

The citizenship course allows people from surrounding communities to benefit. According to Vazquez, she has students from all over southwest Kansas and into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.  

“I think Liberal is one of the closest for the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle. If it isn’t the only one, it is one of the few colleges that offer this citizenship class,” she adds.

To enroll in the class call the Colvin Center (620) 417-1313. The fee for the class is $120. When you enroll according to Vazquez you will be put on a waiting list while the fall semester approaches. Due to COVID, SCCC is limiting the number of students that can enroll, so to guarantee a spot, be sure to call.