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PAE To Host Naturalization Ceremony Nov. 30

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PAE To Host Naturalization Ceremony Nov. 30
Posted on 11/28/2017
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Portland Adult Education (PAE) will host a U.S. naturalization ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. in the Portland High School auditorium.  Students from PAE and PHS will attend, along with the new citizens, their families and invited guests.

PHS Principal Sheila Jepson will give welcoming remarks. Superintendent Xavier Botana will be the guest speaker. Two PHS students, Jean Beni Nkashama and Victor Beca, will perform the National Anthem and "The New Colossus." 

The keynote speaker will be Aminata Doumbouya Ford.  She came to the U.S. from Guinea in 1999, won asylum about two years later, attended PAE to learn English and eventually got a cosmetology degree.  She has worked for the past several years as a hairdresser.  She became a citizen about a decade ago and will talk about what that means to her.

The final number of new citizens being sworn in on Thursday had not yet been confirmed as of Nov. 28, but the total is expected to be close to 60.

The ceremony was planned because Portland Adult Education's upper-level ESOL classes are studying immigration to Maine as part of a unit titled Immigrants Down East.  The Portland Education Foundation awarded a grant to PAE teachers to create the curriculum unit over the summer. PAE teacher Shoshana Hoose spearheaded the unit’s development.

As part of the unit, students learned about how PAE has helped prepare immigrants for citizenship almost since the school's inception in the mid-1800s.  In addition to teaching English, the school once offered "Americanization" classes.  PAE now has a citizenship class and volunteer tutors who help students study for the citizenship test.

PAE students and staff will host a reception for the new citizens before the ceremony on Nov. 30.  The Friends of Portland Adult Education awarded a grant to cover costs for the naturalization ceremony and reception.

To view the program for the ceremony, click HERE.