Chasing Maine: The Graduation Dream

Nearly eight years after coming to the U.S., two immigrants have achieved their dreams of graduating from nursing school.
A university graduate wearing a cap and gown walks past other graduates during a graduation ceremony
Somalian immigrant Fartun Hirsi (center) at a May 2022 graduation ceremony for the School of Nursing at the University of Southern Maine. Photo by Roger McCord.

Fabiola Jenson and Fartun Hirsi came to the U.S. from Rwanda and Somalia in 2014. Almost eight years later, they have graduated from the School of Nursing at the University of Southern Maine.

Last year, Chasing Maine featured their stories in “The Indomitable Spirit.” Now, we return for their college graduation — to celebrate their difficult journey of success and the indomitable spirit they summoned to achieve their dreams.

“When I was among with other students, I was feeling like my dream became reality,” Hirsi said of the commencement ceremony. “My heart was full of joy and happy.”

The journey to graduation did not come without sacrifice, as the two nursing students explain in the below video.

“When there is no pain, there is no gain.”

Chasing Maine is a video series that explores Maine from a distinct visual perspective. Join veteran Maine journalist and storyteller Roger McCord as he chases the people, places and things that define the unique character of the Pine Tree State. Subscribe to the Chasing Maine playlist on YouTube.


Roger McCord

Roger McCord has had a wide-ranging career in journalism, spanning the gamut from writing/reporting to daily news photography to working on various news desks as an editor. The most recent incarnation is in video production – usually brief features and mini-documentaries in and about Maine.
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