Graduation 2020: Facebook and Instagram celebrate the Class of 2020
Every graduating class has a special memory of the day they got their diplomas, wore caps and gowns, and listened to their commencement speakers give inspiring speeches. The Class of 2020 will always remember their graduation for a different reason — like the rest of the country/world, they're spending it in quarantine. But that doesn't mean they're getting deprived of all the pomp and circumstance that normally comes with this milestone achievement. If anything, they're getting the best graduation celebration in history.
Facebook and Instagram banded together to form one mega graduation ceremony with a roll call naming every school in all 50 states, from Alabama to Wyoming, featuring graduates and educators from around the country and sharing graduates’ favorite #Graduation2020 moments. Live-streamed on Facebook Watch on Friday, a bunch of celebrities joined the festivities to deliver hopeful, hilarious, and motivating tributes to the Class of 2020. From Oprah Winfrey to Hugh Jackman, Miley Cyrus to Matthew McConaughey, Cardi B to Selena Gomez, John Mayer to Simone Biles, so many stars shared their tributes on social media.
Oprah of course kicked things off with the most inspirational speech. "You are indeed the chosen class for such a time as this, the Class of 2020," she says. "You’re also a united class, the pandemic class, that has the entire world striving to graduate with you. But even though there may not be pomp because of our circumstances, never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion and energy and hope. Your graduation ceremony is taking place with so many luminaries celebrating you on the world’s Facebook stage, and I’m just honored to join them and salute you."
This Is Us star Sterling K Brown reminded graduates that this is only the beginning of their journeys. "Alright Class of 2020, we've been waiting a long time for this moment," he says. "All your hard work has finally paid off and you're moving on to the next phase of your education or for some of you, into the real world. I want to tell you this, that where you start in life does not dictate where you end up. And while the circumstances of your graduation may not be ideal, you will look back on this event with clarity of 20/20 vision and recognize it as a beautiful beginning."
Cardi B supported all the graduates with her usual enthusiasm. "I just want to way congrats to all my high school and to all my college graduates, congrats congrats congrats!" she says. "And don’t let no Coronavirus, no nothing, take this special moment from you. I also want to tell you guys it’s more than a diploma, it’s more than graduation, it’s knowledge, it’s knowing that you did it. Now you’re about to start your life, you’re about to make some money, you’re about to show your skills on what you worked for."
The Good Place star Kristen Bell pointed to one of her co-stars as a great example of why the experience is more important than just this celebration. "It’s not the moments of achievement or recognition that stick with you, it’s the getting there that you remember," she says. "You think Ted Danson remembers what it’s like on the day that he won the Emmy? No."
One of the world's most inspiration figures, Malala Yousafzai, gave a powerful and meaningful address about the future. "I know that we are heading into an uncertain future, and everyone says that things will not be the same as they were before, but I know they will be better," she says. "Because when we go through some tough challenges we learn about who we are and what we value in our life. So I’m hoping the future will be even better as we become more responsible people."
McConaughey dropped his usual "Alright, alright, alright" catchphrase before getting serious. "You’re going to continue to learn for the rest of your life," he says. "The big learning is coming in the future for you. I promise you. The experiential learning, where you get to put what you’ve learned in school to task. This is when it gets fun, this is when it gets hard."
Cyrus shared her song The Climb after addressing graduates. "I’m truly honored to celebrate each and every one of you high school and college seniors and all that you’ve accomplished," she says. "As I was thinking about you, the class of 2020 and how you inspire me, I knew I wanted to share this song with you. It feels full of a new meaning. Keep the faith, keep on moving, keep climbing."
Gomez pointed out that most success doesn't come without failure, so graduates shouldn't get disheartened if they face obstacles in their future. "I want to say it’s ok not to know what to do with the rest of your life," she says. "It’s a journey to find your direction or your passions, so don’t get frustrated by the mistakes and setbacks as they happen to all of us."
And Olympian athlete Biles summed up everything with the perfect statement. "We know how hard you worked to bring home that diploma," she says. "I know you’re missing what is supposed to be your medal ceremony, but that ceremony doesn’t change a thing. You’ve already won."
Check out the rest of the Graduation 2020 speeches below: