Story Provided by Literacy Program Tutor Linda Murphy
In my eleven years of tutoring with the Literacy Program, the most rewarding work has to have been the time I spent with students whose goal was to obtain citizenship. The positive outcomes for my two students, their families, and for me were extraordinary and life-enhancing.
It was an honor to learn alongside my first citizenship candidate. For one year, we studied the American government, history, and culture. She had to learn the answers to one hundred questions about these aspects of American life, prepare for the personal interview, and develop the courage to go through a long and somewhat daunting process. Many aspects of what she learned were things many Americans had the privilege of learning through decades of schooling, but she faced the challenge head-on. She overcame her fear of failure and test anxiety. My heart swelled as I was able to join her and her family at the citizenship ceremony where our U.S. Congressman, Sam Farr, congratulated over 60 new citizens from over 30 countries on their accomplishment. What a proud and happy moment it was for all of us.
The second student with whom I worked was equally determined to gain American citizenship. This excellent student succeeded in obtaining her citizenship, and I had the honor of joining her and her husband at a huge and joyous celebration for new citizens and their families. This student became so interested in American history that we continued to study it in more detail. Both of us learned so many new and surprising things about our nation’s past, which gave us insight into the challenges faced by our country today.
I have the utmost respect for my two students who undertook what I can only describe as an arduous, challenging, and ultimately successful journey to become U.S. citizens.
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