Events across the world have been canceled because of Covid-19. This includes concerts, music festivals, Pride parades, and major sporting events. Yet, for high school seniors, their high school will end without the same traditions that many have enjoyed like prom and graduation.
LeBron James celebrated the graduating class of 2020 on a special night on television.
“You should’ve had a real graduation, I know. You should’ve had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy,” James said during the broadcast.
James continued: “Our school are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment. And now, it’s time to go to a new place.”
The special was filled with celebrities and public figures offering students words of encouragement as they close this chapter of their lives.
“Congratulations to everyone graduating,” Bad Bunny told the class of 2020 in Spanish. “I know that we are going through a very difficult and strong time for use, but we have to stay strong and don’t forget to be thankful and smile, even though I know that sometimes we don’t even want to smile. We have to look for a way to do it and stay positive.”
The musician added: “Work hard on everything that you set out to do, on all your goals, but remember that it doesn’t matter what we achieve. The most important thing is to respect each other. It’s respect and the values that we put into practice day to day that say who you are. They are what define us as people. Success is not measured in money. Success, to me, is the experiences and memories that we carry in our hearts forever.”
Zendaya gave the students, and teachers, a special message for the commencement ceremony.
The actress gave a special shoutout at the beginning of her speech to teachers. Zendaya noted that her mother is a teacher so she has first-hand knowledge of how hard teachers are working during this time. Hosting classes via Zoom with children is not the easiest way to teach in the world.
Zendaya then turned her talk to the graduating seniors. While the viral outbreak has interrupted the lives of billions of people, graduation is not the only defining moment of being a high school senior. Instead, Zendaya tries to remind the graduating class of 2020 that it is a series of life events that define your senior year. There is so much that people go through from the time they start school to the time they finish that truly define them and their experience. One moment, while memorable, is not the only thing that makes senior year the experience it is.
The class of 2020 was treated to a special shoutout from President Barack Obama.
Pres. Obama started by giving the students the same tired and true line. He highlighted how the adults that are making decisions are not all-knowing and are in fact learning as they go. This is something that we have all heard when we were younger but, for some reason, coming from Pres. Obama, it sounds empowering and calming. It really reminded people of what a president should sound like when addressing the American public.
Pres. Obama did call on the students to act differently then they had seen from some people in power. Specifically, Pres. Obama wanted to let students know that there was a right and a wrong way to respond to major events.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think,” Pres. Obama told the seniors. He added. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”
The special ended with a performance from the Jonas Brothers and Karol G.
“Taping our performance was amazing to me,” Karol G told Billboard about her performance. “I enjoyed it as if it were my own graduation. To have the opportunity to reach so many people, give them a good time despite all we’re going through, to celebrate with them this special date … It meant a lot to me.”