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Minneapolis Immigrant High School Celebrates Commencement


Thursday, July 3, 2008
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MINNEAPOLIS – Congressman Keith Ellison called on recent graduates from Lincoln International High School to use their “lifelong and education skills to rejuvenate this country.”

Ellison was speaking at the school’s graduation ceremony that saw 61 immigrant students get their high school diplomas. Sixty percent of the students graduated with honors. 

The school’s first Bill and the Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient, Abdullahi Ahmed, a Somali refugee urged his graduating classmates to take the lessons learnt at Lincoln into the outside world.

“People from different cultures, ethnicities and religions can live peacefully together… we have learnt tolerance and understanding at Lincoln,” Ahmed said.

Lincoln International High School is a public charter school in Minneapolis that caters primarily to refugee and immigrant students to “develop English language skills and the necessary academic and cultural skills needed to reach their highest potential.”

The celebration was a memorable one as proud family and friends mostly from different parts of the world gathered at the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis. Nata Samb, the school’s principal, expressed her pride in her students’ success urging them to volunteer tutoring and mentoring younger students at the high school.

It was obvious in the student commencement speeches that the students were proud of their academic milestone. Student body President Mohammed Kanneh, a refugee from Liberia, gave a heartwarming tribute to his parents for instilling at an early age a thirst for education in him.

Another student, Ilham Hassan, amid cheers of encouragement said, “Three years ago, I did not speak a word in English. Learning it was hard and confusing.” She promised to give back to the community as it had to her.

Ruben Gomez, an Ecuadorian immigrant, spoke about the welcoming
atmosphere at the school. 

“The teachers are like parents away from home,” Gomez said. “They make sure we like coming to school.”

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About Julia N. Opoti

A former Mshale editor, Julia Nekessa Opoti is now the producer and host of the radio show: Reflections of New Minnesotans on AM950 . She also edits/publishes Kenya Imagine

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