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Somali high school graduates celebrate with basketball game

By Megan Zemple
Tuesday June 20, 2023

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Sunday was a day of celebration for a job well done for dozens of Somali high school graduates.

The event was hosted by the Somali American Social Service Association. Founded in 2012, SASSA aims to help immigrants integrate into the community while remembering and honoring their culture.

According to SASSA, about 150 Somali high school seniors graduated this spring from the four RPS high schools. Organizers said the basketball game today at the RCTC Regional Sports Center was meant to let the students celebrate their hard work with some fun.

“The SASSA is our organization,” Sports Coordinator Ali Abdi said. “That always supports the youth. This is the second year to celebrate our youth in high school, every year doing well with their education.”

SASSA founder Omar Nur said the biggest obstacle immigrants are facing right now in Rochester is the lack of affordable housing. He also said he’s been trying to talk to city leaders about creating more space where youth can go and practice sports or play sports for fun.

The winning team won a trophy and medals. Organizers said they hope they can continue the tradition for many years to come.