Many people might think to graduate high school during an economic collapse, global pandemic, and time of civil unrest would be troubling, to say the least, but for some others, they are saying their graduation is one of the best! It’s not every year that President Barack Obama delivers a graduating commencement speech and First Lady Michelle Obama is by his side to share inspirational words of wisdom to graduates (along with celebrities such as Beyonce, BTS, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, U2, Lizzo, and more ) and have A-list artists perform musical tributes in honor of the graduates! Due to Coronavirus shutting down schools and the class of 2020 finding themselves under quarantine and without the usual fanfare of their achievements, YouTube worked with sponsors to pull off one of the most memorable events in social media history — a virtual graduation celebration led by President Obama himself called Dear Class of 2020.
The entire program is more than four and a half hours long and many people (non-graduates included) have watched Dear Class of 2020 from start to end more than once! Those who participated have shared their speeches on their social media pages as well, which has helped spread the word about the ground-breaking event.
Not only did Dear Class of 2020 break YouTube streaming records, it brought the nation together to honor, celebrate, and give back to the next generation of future leaders who are facing uncertain times.
Due to the program being so long, many people have picked their own favorite moments from the event and YouTube has split the video into segments so people can re-watch their favorite moments repeatedly and on-demand. However; for many, the best part of the event was President Barack Obama’s commencement speech and his inspirational words of wisdom and encouragement to those who need it.
You may see Barack Obama as he addressed the class of 2020 on his Instagram page below.
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As has always been true at key moments in history, it’s going to depend on young people to go out there and rewrite what is possible. So, as this year’s graduates prepare for the next stage of what I know will be a remarkable journey, I wanted to give them a few quick pieces of advice: First, do what you think is right, not just what’s convenient or what’s expected or what’s easy. While you have this time, think about the values that matter to you the most. Too many graduates who feel the pressure to immediately start running that race for success skip the step of asking themselves what’s really important. Second, listen to each other, respect each other, and use all that critical thinking you’ve developed from your education to help promote the truth. Finally, even if it all seems broken, have faith in our democracy. Participate—and vote. Don’t fall for the easy cynicism that says nothing can change—or that there’s only one way to bring about change. America has always made progress because young people dared to hope. Your generation is making sure that’s true of our present—and our future, too. I know you can do it—I couldn’t be prouder of all of you.
If you missed Dear Class of 2020 and want to get a brief synopsis before watching the full four hours, YouTube has you covered. Here is a synopsis of the best moments in under three minutes.
Beyonce is one of many who delivered commencement speeches (BTS, Condoleeza Rice, Lady Gaga, Secretary Robert M. Gates, Barack and Michelle Obama all delivered speeches) and many found her words to be specifically inspiring. You may see Beyonce’s speech as shared on her Instagram account below.
You may watch the full four and a half-hour long replay of Dear Class of 2020 below.
Here is BTS’ commencement speech.
You may watch Lady Gaga address the Class of 2020 in the video player below.
The cast of Schitt’s Creek delivered a beautiful rendition of Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” as they honored teachers along with students, and then they were joined by Mariah Carey, the songbird herself!
What was your favorite moment from Dear Class of 2020?
Congratulations to everyone who graduated!
Charisse Van Horn is a freelance writer from Tampa Bay. She enjoys writing about celebrities, entertainment, and fashion. Any reproduction of this article outside of Celebrity Insider will be met with legal action by the writer.