The Jonas Brothers, LeBron James, and BTS among the large group of notable figures who will address the class of 2020 in two digital graduation events!
High school and college seniors are experiencing a different kind of senior year due to the sudden and wide-reaching effect of the coronavirus outbreak. End of year celebrations, traditions, and rites of passage are greatly impacted as traditional gatherings and ceremonies cannot be held.
However, seniors across the nation will have one very memorable thing they can hold onto about this year’s graduation: commencement messages delivered by former President Barack Obama.
A tweet by California high school senior Lincoln Debenham went viral a few weeks ago after he requested that former President Barack Obama speak to the graduating class, calling him a voice of hope and the first President he can remember.
The first message will be broadcast in a primetime special "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” It will air on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC simultaneously at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on Saturday, May 16, 2020, and will be carried on dozens more broadcast and digital streaming partners.
Hosted by XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation, multiple celebrities and notable figures will join the Obamas in their send-off for seniors—including LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, Megan Rapinoe, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Pharrell Williams, H.E.R., Ben Platt, Henry Platt, Jonah Platt, and Yara Shahidi, among many more musicians, athletes, cultural figures, influencers, and speakers.
“As coronavirus has prompted the cancellation of high school graduation ceremonies across the country, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, The LeBron James Family Foundation, XQ Institute, and a broad coalition of partners are coming together to pay tribute to millions of high school seniors, their extraordinary teachers, and their families, as we rally everyone around a message of hope and unity…
…This will be a moment to come together—as one nation—to applaud this rite of passage. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the Class of 2020’s achievements.
We've been coping with this crisis together. Now it's time to look ahead together.”
Students, educators, and families can go to the website to upload and share stories about seniors and educators they know who are making a difference.
As part of the event, an online yearbook dedicated to the class of 2020 is being launched by the Inside Out Project. Students can submit their pictures here.
The second event will be a virtual event streamed on YouTube on June 6. Both Barack and Michelle Obama will deliver commencement speeches for the high school and college graduating classes of 2020. The couple will headline YouTube’s virtual commencement event “Dear Class of 2020” YouTube Originals.
This festival style celebration will feature messages shared by big entertainment names like Lady Gaga, BTS, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Zendaya, and Kerry Washington, as well as popular YouTubers like AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Jackie Aina, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys.
Speakers will include Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, and CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai. The full schedule of speakers will be available on May 17 on the Learn@Home site.
Former President Obama will also give a message at the "Show Me Your Walk, HCBU Edtion" for historically black colleges and universities on May 16 at 2 p.m. (ET).
This is a remarkable way for those who graduate during the coronavirus pandemic to hear voices of support and strength as they move into the next phase of their lives, and will be part of history they can look back on in the years to come.
What do you think about these two national virtual commencement events? What other live streaming graduation events should we know about? Sound off in the comments.