We are writing on behalf of a group of 21 members of Deering High School’s Class of 2005 (to save your readers some math, that puts us in our early 30s).

We have read, in your newspaper and elsewhere, about African asylum seekers coming to Portland, and the city’s admirable efforts to accommodate them. We have also read about divided opinions regarding the region’s capacity to bear this influx of need.

We don’t have to read the news about the hard economic truths of our generation, because we live them: Collectively, we know a lot about student debt and the high cost of housing. The recession gave many of our early careers a rocky start. Yet we reflect on our lives and are thankful, in large part, for the Portland public school system, our welcoming communities and our picturesque childhoods.

In honor of what our community gave us, and as a first step in supporting and welcoming these new Mainers, we worked together to raise $2,005 for Portland’s Community Support Fund in a five-day drive. We gave at all levels – whatever we could afford – and encouraged others to do the same. We hope to encourage other graduates of Portland-area schools to give as well. For once, PHS, we’d be happy to have you beat us.

To the new residents of southern Maine: Welcome! We hope with all our hearts to make it a home for you.

Mindy Misener and Colleen Boyd

on behalf of the Class of 2005, Deering High School

Portland

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