Several prominent people are making an appearance to send a virtual message to those are part of the 2020 graduating class.
In YouTube Original’s “Dear Class of 2020,” former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, singer-songwriter Beyoncé, and former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were among the few who delivered a special address.
“Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstances,” Barack Obama said, adding, “Yours comes as the world is turned upside-down by a pandemic and by a country that’s been swept up by protest.”
“None of this is how any of you imagined finishing your final spring at school. […] I want you to remember a graduation ceremony doesn’t celebrate just a moment in time, it’s the culmination of your years of learning about the world and about yourself. […] The point is: Don’t let the lack of a big crowded ceremony take anything away from what your graduation signifies.”
“Go ahead and bask in the glory of your achievement,” Barack Obama continued, adding, “As was true from generations before you, graduation marks your final passage into adulthood — the time you’re fully expected to take charge of your life’s direction. It’s when you get to decide what’s important to you.”
Watch Barack Obama’s commencement speech below:
Echoing similar celebration remarks as her husband, Michelle Obama said, “Please enjoy this moment. You deserve this celebration. Congratulations.”
“In light of the current state of our country, I struggled to find the right wisdom for you today, so I am here today to talk to you, not as the former first lady, but as a real-life person, a mother, a mentor, a citizen concerned about your future and the future of our country,” Michelle Obama said.
“Over the past months, our foundation has been shaken, not just by a pandemic … but also by the rumbling of the age-old fault lines that our country was built on — the lines of race and power that are now once again so nakedly exposed for all of us to grapple with.”
“If any of you are scared, or confused, or angry, or just plain overwhelmed by it all, if you feel like you’re searching for a lifeline just to steady yourself, you are not alone,” the former first lady said.
She encouraged the graduates to lead a life filled with “deep and loving connections with others, honest work that leads to lasting contributions to your community, the vibrancy that comes from a diversity of ideas and perspectives, the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it.”
See Michelle Obama’s commencement remarks below:
Together, the Obamas said in a video, “Congratulations to the class of 2020!”
Watch the video below:
Additionally, Beyoncé said to graduates, “You have arrived here in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic, and worldwide expression of outrage since this killing of yet another unarmed black human being, and you still made it.”
“We’re so proud of you. Thank you for using your collective voice in letting the world know that black lives matter.”
See Beyoncé’s commencement speech below:
Others who offered remarks for the “Dear Class of 2020” video message also include singer-songwriters Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys, among several others.
See the full video below:
Many students across the U.S. and the world were affected by the coronavirus pandemic as it caused schools to go virtual for the rest of the school year.
There are more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and over 112,000 deaths due to the virus, as of Monday morning.
Countries have begun reopening and each state in the U.S. is in a phase of reopening, varying from state to state. It is unclear what approach schools in each state will take regarding reopening in the fall or continuing remote learning. However, the idea of sending their children back to school in the fall has caused some wariness among parents.
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