Elementary school staff raises money to help employee apply for U.S. citizenship


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Earlier this week, teachers and staff at Chisholm Trail Elementary School made one man’s dreams come true.  

José Hernández is described as a hardworking custodian at the elementary school. In addition to keeping the building clean, he has also been hard at work studying to get his U.S. citizenship.

Hernandez moved to the United States several years ago and is now a resident, but it wasn’t until last year that he decided to apply for his citizenship.

Tiffany Nickel, a special education teacher at Chisholm Trail Elementary School, found out he only needed a little more than $200 to complete the financial requirements for the application. That’s when she rallied school staff to step up and help.

“It was just amazing the support that we immediately got,” Nickel said. “Over a two-week span of time, the teachers went into their own pockets and donated $1,000 for him, which hopefully will pay for the first part of that U.S. citizenship test so he can continue to reach his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.”

Now that Mr. Hernandez has enough money to apply for citizenship, the teachers and students at Chisholm Trail Elementary hope to see him at his naturalization ceremony when the time comes.

“We don’t care if he speaks a different language,” Nickel said. “We don’t care what his nationality is. He just wants to come here and do his part and have a better life. That’s what our goal was—to make everyone feel welcomed and wanted in our country.”

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