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Highland High School Honors “Hometown Heroes”

Highland Central School District administrators, faculty, and staff came together with local veterans and members of the community on May 28 to dedicate a plaque in honor of three Highland High School (HHS) alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Class of 1996 graduate Eugene Williams, 2002 graduate Michael Oremus, and 2002 graduate Doron Chan all served in the United States Army and lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Donated by the Class of 1996, the plaque that is now mounted on the wall outside of the school’s newly updated Fitness Center stands as a permanent tribute to their heroism, helping to ensure that their sacrifices are never forgotten.

During the dedication ceremony, which was attended by members of the Williams, Oremus, and Chan families, HHS Principal Kevin Murphy reflected on the lives of the three fallen heroes. “They walked these very halls and shared in the laughter, dreams, and aspirations of our Highland students,” he said. “Yet, when the time came, they chose a path of honor and duty, fighting to protect the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy every day.”

“Their absence is a poignant reminder of the cost of our freedom, and it is our duty to ensure that their stories are told and their memories are cherished,” Murphy continued. “We owe them our deepest gratitude, and we pledge to keep their memories alive in our hearts and in the history of our school.”

Highland Superintendent Joel Freer is thankful to everyone who helped make the dedication possible, and is confident that the new plaque will help foster a spirit of unity, respect, and service within the school community. 

“It serves as a symbol of our enduring appreciation, and will help inspire future generations to remember the sacrifices of these three individuals, and to live lives that are worthy of their heroism,” he said.