FPU senior class to hold commencement ceremony on Zoom

One graduating senior is planning a virtual celebration for her department at Fresno Pacific University.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Graduation ceremonies have been postponed for many members of the graduating class of 2020.

That includes Fresno Pacific University, which was supposed to hold its commencement next weekend.

One senior is making sure her classmates have a reason to celebrate.

Zenia Arenas would have been the first in her family to be able to cross the stage and accept her diploma.

"It was a big honor for me to have my family there, this breaks my heart," she says.

Even though the May 9th commencement was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior graduating with a bachelors in social work has decided she and her classmates will still get their special day.

Zenia is planning a virtual celebration for her department, which she fondly refers to as her family.

"We're going to be wearing our cap and gowns on Zoom," she says.

As social distancing recommendations and shelter in place orders limited their final semester, Zenia says they thrived when what was once an in-class setting moved online.

"We were really excited this was our semester, we had just gotten placed at our internships," she says.

All 21 seniors in her department used their passion and education to start the nonprofit community 26, that helps provide PPE for underserved communities and organizations.

"We learned so much from our clients and from our experience. It's our time to shine and show the community that we can turn something negative into a positive," she says.

While her commencement isn't what she expected, Zenia takes pride knowing nothing can take away their education and legacy.

"No matter what happens in life, whether there's a worldwide pandemic or you lost someone, keep your faith and always have hope," she says.

Since the university hosts two ceremonies per year, they're combining commencement ceremonies for the Spring and Fall semesters into one big celebration December 12th.

Spring graduates will receive their diplomas this summer by mail.

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