WELLESLEY (CBS) — Though the MassBay Community College campus was quiet Tuesday evening, online – the school community was celebrating the achievements of more than 670 new graduates. Students like Dinora Torres of Milford worked hard to get here.

“I had to be the stay-at-home mom, had to be the teacher, and then I had to be the student. It was a little bit stressful,” said Torres.

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Navigating this semester, while also seeing the stress and sickness of COVID-19, inspired Torres when it came to commencement.

“That opened my eyes that the things I’ve been wanting to do all these years, I really needed to go for it,” she said.

After keeping her singing and songwriting private over the years, Torres expressed interest and was selected to sing the National Anthem to begin the virtual ceremony. Her performance was moving – as is her pride.

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“I’m a Hispanic mother with brown skin. This is the song that gave way to America. This is the song and I’m the one singing it. That’s a privilege. It’s such a big deal,” Torres said.

Dinora Torres of Milford (Photo Via MassBay Community College)

The 29-year-old accounting major is still finishing up some classes, with love and support from her greatest accomplishments — her children — every step of the way. Torres has four young daughters: three-year-old twins, and five and six-year-olds. She also loves four stepdaughters.

Torres took a break from school in her early 20s to care for her girls, including her oldest who was born with special needs.

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“My oldest daughter always says, ‘You’re such a great mom.’ When she says things like that, I’m just like, you know, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and I’m doing it right because my daughters can see that.”

Juli McDonald