Three years later than their peers, students of Danwon High School, who died in the Sewol-ho ferry disaster on April 16th, 2014, have received an honorary graduation ceremony.
"A total of 250 students who lost their lives in the nation's biggest maritime disaster have finally received their honorary diplomas after their education was tragically cut short."
The ceremony kicked off with a calling of the names of each student as their pictures were presented on the screen.
As their names were announced, parents and siblings cried and shouted out the names of their children in despair.
"There is nothing that can comfort us except for our children coming back to us. Many of us parents feel this way, and this is why many of the seats are vacant.
But we pushed through with the ceremony for the safety and honor of our children."
"There are many parents who are still traumatized from the disaster and many of us are still hurting. I am afraid that my child will be forgotten as time passes."
More than 500 people gathered at the high school in Ansan city, including Education Minister Yoo Eun-hye and Lee Jae-jeong, the superintendent of education for Gyeonggi-do Province.
There were several remembrance speeches, one of which was from a fellow student.
"I could fill this letter with 'I miss you's because that's what I really want to say, but today I will instead say congratulations. We will never forget all of you until we meet again."
Aside from those who directly knew the victims, other citizens also came to pay their respects, hoping that no such tragedy ever occurs again.
"It breaks my heart to see many of the families in sorrow. I see a lot of students assisting the ceremony, and I hope that we all work hard for this young generation to live in a better society."
The graduation had been postponed since 2016 as the bereaved families refused to attend it until the bodies of several missing students were recovered.
But despite two students still missing, the families this time requested for the ceremony to take place this year.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang news.