May 11, 2020 | People

Commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of 2020 will look markedly different this year. Parents won’t strain to pick out their daughter or son from a sea of identical cap-and-gown-clad graduates. The solemn program on stage won’t be interrupted by the sudden appearance of a bouncing beach ball. There’ll be no Silly String wars, random air horn blasts, or cap tossing after the diplomas have been handed out.

This graduation season will be anything but ordinary. But, that’s all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement, and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world. Ryan Reynolds kicked things off on May 1st with a funny and sweet commencement speech for his alma mater, Kitsilano Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia. The video ended with a crawl saying that Reynolds missed local fave Nat’s Pizza, and every graduate would get a large pizza on him.

Here is a lineup of some of the other virtual events planned to lift up those celebrating graduation milestones this year.

A one-hour livestreamed event on Saturday, May 16th, at 8 p.m. Eastern, will feature President Obama with Lebron James, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers and Megan Rapinoe. Called Graduate Together, the program will celebrate high schoolers who have earned their diplomas. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will all broadcast it live.

Earlier that day, at 2 p.m. Eastern, President Obama will appear in a two-hour virtual commencement honoring graduates from 74 historically black colleges, called “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition.”

Oprah is also making an appearance. On May 15th at 2 p.m. Eastern, Facebook is hosting a #Graduation 2020 for both high school and college grads. Oprah will appear with Lil Nas X, Jennifer Garner, Miley Cyrus, Simone Biles and Awkwafina.

For podcast fans, there is iHeart Media’s May 16th launch of “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020,” featuring inspiring words from a long list of celebrities, sports stars, entertainers and business titans including Hillary Clinton, Eli Manning and John Legend.

On June 6th at 3 p.m. Eastern, the First Couple will appear on a YouTube virtual commencement, Dear Class of 2020. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Malala Yousafzai and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai are among the guests.

Until then, both grads and non-grads can draw inspiration from the tongue in cheek advice of Trevor Noah and friends, like, “You are much stronger than you think. Just like that off brand toilet paper you found on the dark web.”

Question: What words of advice would you give the graduating Class of 2020?


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