‘Twas a night at CARECEN

By Rachel Gittinger

Get in the holiday spirit with this adapted poem that describes the most recent session at CARECEN! Thanks to all the teachers and volunteers who make our program successful!   See you in 2014!

‘Twas a night at CARECEN

Students learn about the Vietnam War

Twas a week before Christmas and all through CARECEN
The students were finishing their last civics lesson.
They practiced the questions in English with care
Knowing the interview would soon be there.

Students take a tour of the Lincoln memorial

The students were nested all snug in their desks
With vision and hopes of they passing the tests.
Together they learned the hundred civics facts
Including the last day to file income tax
They talked about important people and dates,
And named all thirteen of the original states
They learned that the flag is red, blue, and white
And that taxes were so high the colonists had to fight!

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
A student who passed the test earlier this year!
With a citizenship certificate and US flag on a stick
They talked about their interview, the story was quick.  “More rapid than ever the questions they came,
About dates and children and all of my names
The students all listened to her advice and her tale
“Come to class every week.  Study- you won’t fail.”

Studying in the classroom each week can get old
We decided on a field trip before it got cold.
In November we took a tour on the mall
To see Lincoln’s monument and the Vietnam Wall
Dressed in all green from pants to the hat,
Our tour guides were Mike, Eury and Matt.
We talked about first amendment rights that day
While visiting monuments for FDR and MLK!

A citizenship student and ESL volunteer practice conversation

Then on to English, to read, write, and speak
The students were quiet, so timid and meek
Teachers worked hard to help them prepare
Explained the difference between who, when, & where.
They talked about their country, their home and past,
‘Til they could answer any question that was asked
They talked about families, no student was a loner,
Learned the Speaker’s name doesn’t rhyme with owner.
Smugglers and drunkards and titles of nobility
And all of the questions about admissibility.
Thanks to the English teachers, the students understand
Every single question and interview command. 

Soon 12 weeks were gone, the interview was here
The student signed in, face filled with fear
In came the official, calling their name
Remember the advice- “just like class, it’s the same”
The first 6 were right, no need to ask ten
The officer asked where they’d worked, where they’d been
Whether they had been deported or removed
Then suddenly, the officer said, “ You’re approved!”

Students pose with their diplomas at citizenship class graduation

The student skipped out of the office with glee
And began to make calls to the entire family
“Sabes qué? Pasé! Pasé el examen!
Me preguntaron solo algunas de las cien!”
After the oath ceremony they return with a bag
A passport application, and a tiny little flag
They show their certificate and then they proclaim
“Put me on the Citizenship Wall of Fame!”
As they leave, we say, “Remember to vote, it’s your right!”
Happy Citizenship to all, and to all a good night!

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