Our hearts go out to the high school seniors of 2020. What should be some of the greatest moments of their lives has been drastically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Thankfully, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have stepped up to be voices of reassurance in a time of crisis. The “Forever 44” couple will be giving two separate virtual commencement speeches for the graduating 2020 class.
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I’ve always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.
“Over the past month, President and Mrs. Obama have received dozens of requests from around the globe to address graduating classes whose in-person commencement events have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the former president’s office said in a statement. “Today, the Obamas are pleased to announce that they will participate in multiple virtual commencement celebrations for students, families and educators.”
The speeches could be accredited to viral tweets by students such as 17-year-old Lincoln Debenham.
“Hi @BarackObama! Like most high school/college seniors, I’m saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation,” Debenham tweeted on April 14. “In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020.”
Hi @BarackObama! Like most high school/college seniors, I’m saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation. In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020.
— Lincoln (@lincolnjackd) April 15, 2020
The couples’ speeches will steam live during YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” on June 6th . The former president will be speaking at 3 p.m. EST. Forever First Lady Michelle Obama will speak after her husband.
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To the #Classof2020, I know how hard you all have worked to make it to graduation. You’ve put in long hours studying. You’ve thrown yourself into extracurricular activities and after-school jobs. And you’ve done everything you can to be there for your friends through it all. Some of you will be the first in your families to graduate from high school or college, making this occasion all the more special. And I know that none of you imagined you would be closing this chapter of your life through a computer or phone screen. But I still want to make sure you still get the celebration you deserve. That’s why, through my @reachhigher Initiative, I’m working with @youtube Originals to host a special virtual graduation for you on June 6th. Whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or any other kind of school––we want you, your family, and all of your loved ones to be a part of this celebration. And we want to do this right for all of you, so I’ll be inviting some very special guests—including @BarackObama—to help ring in this momentous day. RSVP here bit.ly/RHGraduation and then tune in on June 6th at yt.be/classof2020. #ReachHigher
Other special speakers will include Malala Yousafzai, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Lady Gaga.
Additional celebrity appearances will include actresses; Yara Shahidi, Zendaya and Kerry Washington and artists; Chloe and Halle and Kelly Rowland.
On May 16, President Obama will also host a 2-hour virtual commencement program just for HBCUs called “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition.” It will be live-streamed at 2 p.m. EST.
That same evening (May 16), “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020”, a 1-hour multimedia event will air live on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC at 8 p.m. EST.
On May 15th, Oprah Winfrey, Miley Cyrus and Awkwafina will be speaking in a commencement streaming event on Facebook and Instagram.
Students can RSVP for the Obamas’ commencement ceremonies here
This article also in partnership with the Florida Courier
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.