The graduating class of 2020’s wishes have been granted. The Obamas have announced that they will be hosting a virtual commencement celebration in June for all senior classmen.
“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 on Tuesday. “Today, the Obamas are pleased to announce that they will participate in multiple virtual commencement celebrations for students, families, and educators.”
On June 6th at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. Central Standard Time), the former president and first lady will deliver separate addresses and a joint message to students as part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” celebration. According to a release from the Obamas, other contributors to the program include Malala Yousafzai, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Obamas’ announcement comes after multiple calls for the pair to address graduating students virtually, one being from a high school senior’s tweet that picked up steam in April.
President Obama will also participate in “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” on May 16th. The program is hosted by the XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation. During the 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. Chicago time) address, the 44th president will be joined by high school students including seniors from Chicago Public Schools and members of the Obama Youth Jobs Corps. He will also deliver a speech addressing the high school class of 2020 during this event.
Special guest will include, LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe, H.E.R., and Ben Platt.
In addition to these events, on May 16th, President Obama will share a message for graduates and families from 74 historically Black colleges and universities at “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” a program presented by Chase in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the United Negro College Fund, the National Association for Equal Opportunity, the National Basketball Association, Paul Quinn College, Howard University, and JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways Initiative. It will be live-streamed at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. Central Standard).
By Amaris Edwards, Senior, Brooks College Prep