Home Lifestyle RichmondCC helps Yoteco become U.S. citizen with free prep classes

RichmondCC helps Yoteco become U.S. citizen with free prep classes

Wendy Yoteco celebrates passing the U.S. Citizenship exam to become an official American citizen. She took the U.S. Citizenship Preparation Class at Richmond Community College in order to prepare for the exam. Photos by RichmondCC

HAMLET — When Wendy Yoteco received her certificate of naturalization, she felt relieved because she now has more opportunities to build a career in the United States. On Nov. 18, Yoteco was granted U.S. citizenship after passing the required exams and successfully completing the interview process with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Yoteco is originally from Mexico, but her husband, Ricardo, was born in the United States.

“He applied for my permanent residence years after we were married in México, and he managed to bring me and our daughters to the U.S. eight years ago. Despite my daughters being born in Mexico, they were automatically U.S. citizens due to my husband being a citizen,” she said.

She found out about the citizenship classes at Richmond Community College through a flyer posted in a local business. In 2021, she enrolled in the College’s Preparation Course for U.S. Citizenship and the English as a Second Language Program.

“I chose to complete the citizenship program because I wanted to be able to have more rights. I wanted to be able to vote and continue studying with a scholarship,” Yoteco said. “The English as a Second Language Program has helped me to understand and speak English better.”

Yoteco said not being able to speak English was challenging and intimidating.

“RichmondCC has helped me overcome my fear of interacting with others,” Yoteco said. “RichmondCC was able to help me overcome these challenges by providing me with textbooks, online classes, and bilingual instructors that helped me understand how to speak English fluently. In addition, they helped me understand the materials needed to earn my citizenship.”

One of Yoteco’s goals was to become a U.S. citizen, but she also wanted to further her education. While she had a high school diploma from Mexico, those credentials were not recognized by all employers. Therefore, she decided to enroll in RichmondCC’s Adult Education program. She is taking classes that will prepare her to successfully pass the GED, the high school equivalency test, which will help her get a job. She hopes to have her GED by June.

Now a U.S. citizen thanks to the U.S. Citizenship Preparation Class at Richmond Community College, Wendy Yoteco is now working on getting her high school credentials so she has more career options.

“It’s worth attending RichmondCC because it will help you achieve a lot of your goals, and you can still accomplish them as an adult,” she said.


Yoteco said one teacher in the Adult Education program that has had an positive impact on her education was Jeffrey Joly.

“My instructor Jeffery Joly is available throughout the day. He can assist you and make sure everything is done correctly,” she said.

However, the person who inspires her the most is her husband because he supports her in every decision that she makes. She is also thankful for the opportunities that the College has given her, so she encourages everyone to see how RichmondCC can help them achieve their goals.

RichmondCC’s Preparation Course for Citizenship Program prepares students with the English language skills and U.S. civics, history, and government knowledge needed to pass the federal naturalization exam. RichmondCC also offers English as a Second Language classes at both the Hamlet and Scotland County campuses for non-English speaking adults. The classes are open to students who are 18 years or older. For more information, contact Student Services at 910-410-1700.

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