Merced College’s Adult Education Program will be offering free, in-person citizenship classes beginning Sept. 27 from 12:30 to 2 pm. The class meets every Tuesday and Thursday at Merced College Los Banos Campus.

The class will meet in room A-105. One can register for the class by calling 209-381-6540 or coming in person to the college. There is no fee for taking the class.

The class is being taught by Tim McNally, an experienced history and economics instructor at the college. He also has taught the citizenship class for several years. His former students have a good record of passing the citizenship test. Some of the students will be at the first class meeting to give advice and tell how they were able to pass the test.

The test consists of 10 questions from a list of 150 potential questions. Six correct answers are needed to pass that part. Applicants are also required to read a question out loud and then write the answer, so they must be aware of all possible answers before they take the text.

McNally said teaching the citizenship class has been a great and humbling experience for him. He loves hearing about his students and enjoys guiding them on the path to citizenship.

“Just to hear the applicants’ stories is incredible,” he said.

“I had a student that had just taken the citizenship test. When I asked him how he did, he said he passed and was really excited.  The only problem he had was with the opening interview,” McNally said.

“The interviewer asked me what I did for a living in Mexico?” the student said. “I told him I sold Coke and he said, ‘What!’ So it dawned on me why he seemed concerned, so I told him I drove a Coca-Cola truck. We both laughed and the interview went great from there.’”

“Another story was when I first started teaching the class, I spoke very little Spanish or other foreign languages,” McNally said. “I asked a friend to translate some introductory statements in Spanish, so I could introduce myself, such as my name is, I am married, I have three daughters, and I am handsome. The last was intended as a joke.

“But the joke was on me,” McNally continued. “As I was introducing myself, they were nodding their heads like they understood. When I got to the last one, they all looked puzzled. Finally, one of them said, ‘You are not that ugly!’ My friend had set me up, saying I was ugly instead, but we all had a great laugh.”

The class is open to both students and non-students alike. Contact Merced College Los Banos Campus, 22240 Highway 152, Los Banos for more information.

The Westside Express