BIDDEFORD, Maine — Students in Biddeford, Maine, have welcomed 54 naturalized U.S. citizens from 36 different countries during a ceremony this week.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Biddeford School Department hosted the event Wednesday. Hundreds of students and family members looked on as the new citizens took the oath of allegiance at Biddeford Middle School.

Nasser Rohani, an Iranian immigrant, spoke during the ceremony. Rohani reflected on moving to the U.S. in 1985 and later becoming a citizen. Rohani encouraged the new citizens to serve their communities.

Superintendent Jeremy Ray says the ceremony offered students a unique experience that can’t be duplicated in the classroom. Biddeford has experienced a wave of immigration in recent years. There are students who hail from 20 countries in the district.

Information from: Portland Press Herald,

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