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Barack and Michelle Obama Will Headline YouTube's 'Dear Class of 2020' Virtual Graduation Ceremony

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, high schools and colleges around the world have decided to cancel their graduation ceremonies. But video platform giant YouTube created a way to celebrate students set to graduate, and with some big names too.

This morning, they announced Dear Class of 2020, a virtual ceremony to recognize and honor high school and college seniors that will air on June 6. Former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama will headline the event and each of them will deliver commencement speeches, as well as a joint message to the students. Additionally, Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative will kick things off with an hour of content prior to the event.

However, the Obama’s are not the only ones who will deliver speeches to the class of 2020.

K-Pop giants BTS and Lady Gaga will also deliver commencement speeches during the event, as well as Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

There will also be special appearances by Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle and Zendaya. Several YouTube creators will appear too, such as The Try Guys, Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect and Mr. Kate.

Not only will celebrities and influencers be speaking, but there will be a special, virtual after party as well so basically, you could say that this event is jam packed.

Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s Global Head of Content, stated that they “hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”

More Ways to Celebrate the Class of 2020’s Graduation

In addition to Dear Class of 2020, there are several ways for graduating seniors to tune into special commencement speeches prepared just for them.

Last month, iHeartMedia announced Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020, a podcast bringing together several celebrities to deliver words of wisdom and inspiration to the graduating class. Notable celebrities who have signed onto the project include Jimmy Fallon, Halsey, John Legend, Kesha, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the podcast will premiere on May 15.

Facebook also announced a special livestream event set for May 15. #Graduation 2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 will include speeches from celebrities such as Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles. Oprah Winfrey is set to give the main commencement speech and Miley Cyrus will perform her song, “The Climb.”

The female-focused online publication Her Campus organized “I’m Still Graduating,” a special ceremony set for—you guessed it—May 15. Those set to speak include Tamron Hall, Brooke Baldwin, Eva Longoria and former Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang.

And finally, Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, a special broadcast for high school seniors will air on May 16 on NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS and major streaming sites. Barack Obama will also deliver the commencement message for the event, and will be joined by LeBron James, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers and more.

The Importance of Still Celebrating Graduating Seniors

High school and college seniors were probably looking forward to graduating alongside their friends this year, just like previous years have done. But with the Coronavirus pandemic, our ways of living changed for now, and people took action in order to limit the spread of the virus, even if that meant cancelling in-person graduation ceremonies.

Graduation marks a significant time in a senior’s life. It serves as a time to reflect on how much they have grown throughout their educational careers; it also shows that they are moving onto their next chapter in life, whether it means going off to college or getting a job and joining the ranks of the real world.

Sure life as we know it is different for now, but that just means we have to find an alternative way of doing certain things. And while the class of 2020 may not walk to receive their diplomas, prominent figures from the worlds of business, politics and entertainment have come together to make sure that this momentous time still remains special for them and their families.

I send my congratulations to the class of 2020. The circumstances may not be ideal right now, but I know you’re going to do amazing things for this world!

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