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Horace Howard Furness graduates 147 seniors with virtual ceremony

Like many dealing with radical changes in the world, the Class of 2020 from Horace Howard Furness High School was forced to make changes.

And although the graduating class of 147 students couldn’t hold a traditional ceremony as scheduled on June 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school made the best of the situation by broadcasting a commencement video for students, teachers and families to enjoy.

“Despite the fact that we did not come here in person to celebrate you, your accomplishment, your success and your hard work, your diploma is no less than anything else,” Furness Principal Daniel Peou said. “It’s a regular high school diploma and you need to be proud of that.”

The Virtual Graduation included guest speaker State Representative Elizabeth Fiedler, who congratulated the accomplishments of the class.

“I hope you all know how incredibly proud we are of you, of all that you’ve accomplished and of all that you’ve overcome to get to this point,” Fiedler said. “I couldn’t possibly hope to list all of the obstacles and all the challenges that you’ve faced and all the successes that you’ve  fought so hard to achieve.”

The school named Bunhay Lim as its class valedictorian. Lim addressed his classmates during the broadcast and he looked back on his time at Furness as a challenge.

“We have walked, run and fallen and gotten up as one,” Lim said. “For all the best memories and most difficult challenges we have made — those things will be the strongest bond we will have.”

This senior class had the added hurdles of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

“We’ve dealt with stress and mental breakdowns, especially this semester with all the new methods of school,” said salutatorian Patricia Emmanuella. “Not having our senior prom and other senior days, the list can go on and on forever. But the good news is that each and every one of us here that are sitting in our own houses on quarantine has conquered all the difficulties to make it to this day to earn our high school diploma.”

Class President Cierra Munoz put things in perspective.

“This is a big milestone,” she said. “Four years of hard work, and we did it. Not the way we thought, or the way we planned. But we have done it.”

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