Obama and other celebrities host virtual graduation ceremonies for class of 2020

Alina Zang, Layout

Barack Obama will be joined by LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, Ben Platt, and more celebrities on a televised special dedicated to high school students graduating this year. This event will be aired on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and other broadcast and digital streaming partners on May 16th at 8 p.m. Eastern. 

The event is called “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” The celebrities will be joined by many high school students from Chicago public schools and the Obama Youth Job Corps. Other stars that will be joining the event are the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and H.E.R.

This special will be hosted by the education advocacy group XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation. More information can be found on the event’s website.

Russlynn Ali, CEO and co-founder of XQ Institute, said in a Time article that “This high school 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.”

Obama will also be participating in another commencement event earlier that day. This event, titled “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” will be aired at 2 p.m. and is dedicated to historically black colleges and universities. 

He will also later be joining a Youtube event called “Dear Class of 2020.” Other people participating in this event include Michelle Obama, the K-pop group BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle, and Kelly Rowland. This virtual commencement will be held on June 6th at 3 p.m.

The former president announced that he will be joining these events on Twitter, saying, “I’ve always loved joining commencements — the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.”