Posted Apr 29, 2020
There are so many things about this pandemic that are sad, disappointing and downright unfair. No one is feeling this more acutely than the graduating high school and college seniors who make up the Class of 2020. I'm experiencing this on a personal level; my son is a high school senior. Watching him lose everything he's looked forward to for so long over the space of a few weeks - starting with senior prom and ending with graduation - has been truly devastating. While I'm sure at some point we'll look back on this unusual ending to this high school years as a great story to tell, in this moment, the losses feel overwhelming.
One of the things that has really lifted my spirits during this difficult time is seeing the huge outpouring of support there is for the Class of 2020. Losing out on experiencing those final rites of passage of your high school or college years is something that seems to resonate deeply with many people. From John Krasinski (best known for playing Jim Halpert on "The Office") and radio stations nationwide hosting virtual senior prom events with celebrity DJs to schools across the country coming up with creative ways to honor and celebrate their graduates to a slew of celebrities signing up to share inspiring words on iHeartMedia's new "Commencement: Speeches for the class of 2020" podcast debuting on May 15th, so many are raising their hand to make this a memorable time for this year's graduates, given the unprecedented circumstances.
Facebook just announced that it will livestream #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020, a multi-hour virtual graduation ceremony on May 15th featuring Oprah as the commencement speaker. There will also be smaller speeches by Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, and Simone Biles, and Miley Cyrus will perform her hit "The Climb."
YouTube is hosting a video graduation ceremony with former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama as headliners, each delivering commencement addresses. YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" special will also feature other celebs including BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Malala Yousafzai. The event will take place on Saturday, June 6 on Youtube Originals channel and YouTube's Learn @Home site. Mrs. Obama's Reach Higher initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the celebration.
Her Campus Media recently announced seemingly the biggest grad event of them all: an epic, star-studded virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. "I'm Still Graduating" will be digitally broadcast on Friday, May 15 at 12 p.m. EST and will include toasts, speeches and performances from stars spanning the arts, entertainment, sports, fashion and business worlds, including Liam Payne, Eva Longoria, Jesse McCartney, Tamron Hall, Andrew Yang, Kenneth Cole, Alli Webb, John Kasich and many, many others. Graduating students can also apply to give a speech or performance at the ceremony.
"We're turning the letdown of a missed graduation experience on its head and bringing together the line-up of our dreams to deliver commencement addresses and performances that will inspire, motivate, and uplift at a time that this year's graduates, and all of us, need it most. This will be an immersive, electrifying, unifying experience beyond what could have been possible at any individual graduation ceremony," said Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, co-founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Media in a press release.
My heart goes out to the thousands of graduating seniors out there. While this isn't the ending any of us wanted or envisioned for you, every generation has a story to tell and this will be yours. Allow yourself to grieve what you've lost, but also embrace these unique experiences and commemorations that so many are rallying around you to provide. We're all behind you.
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