WHITTIER – Whittier Union Adult School Citizenship class teachers are known for continually showering their students with care, support, devotion and celebrations as they navigate the steps of becoming a U.S. citizen, accomplishing what is a lifelong dream for many.

Teachers Jesus DeLaTorre and Katherine Herrick provide their students with application assistance and help refine their grammar, pronunciation, dictation and reading skills in preparation for their citizenship interview. DeLaTorre and Herrick also provide instruction in American history and government to further prepare students for the citizenship test.

“At the end of my class, many of my students are more knowledgeable about the United States government than most current American citizens,” DeLaTorre said. “Many of my students juggle a job while caring for their children and families, and they want to earn their citizenship to have more stability.”

DeLaTorre first started teaching Whittier Union Adult School’s Citizenship class in 2016, after 40 dedicated years of teaching high school history, government and economics. After retiring from his teaching job, a friend of his called and shared the Adult School needed a substitute teacher for a Citizenship class. DeLaTorre discovered a new love and passion in substituting for the class, agreeing to stay on as the permanent Citizenship teacher shortly after.

“Once a teacher, always a teacher,” DeLaTorre said. “I get to teach people from all over the world and learn from them as much as they learn from me. It’s really my vocation.”

DeLaTorre and Herrick both ask former students to return and share their experience with the class after they have achieved citizenship to show how the class impacted their lives and encourage others to continue in the pursuit of their dream.

“Citizenship is such an important class at the Whittier Union Adult School,” Principal Margie Moriarty said. “Mr. DeLaTorre and Ms. Herrick truly give their all to our students and show each and every one of them that anything is possible. We are proud of all of our students and are incredibly grateful for our amazing educators who make dreams a reality!”


WUHSD_CITIZENSHIP1: Whittier Union Adult School Citizenship class teacher Jesus DeLaTorre (middle) invites former students Eustorgio Alaniz (left) and Briana Hernandez (right) to share their story of how they achieved U.S. citizenship with current students.