A few weeks ago, a tweet requesting former US President Barack Obama to give a virtual commencement speech to graduating students amid coronavirus pandemic went viral with thousands other following suit. In an interesting turn of events, their wishes have been fulfilled as Barack Obama, along with his wife Michelle Obama, will give a special commencement address for the 2020 batch students.
YouTube is organising a special virtual graduation ceremony titled "Dear Class of 2020," which will feature Barack and Michelle Obama as well other well known names such as Lady Gaga, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and seven-member K-pop boy band BTS. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and female education activist Malala Yousafzai, are the other commencement speakers, reports Variety.
The former first couple who are headlining the event will deliver individual commencement speeches, as well as a joint message to all the graduates. Besides, former FLOTUS's 'Reach Higher' initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the video graduation ceremony.
Barack Obama took to Twitter to express his happiness at being chosen to give the commencement address and wrote: "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." Meanwhile, Michelle Obama tweeted, "Whether you're graduating from high school, college, or any other kind of school––we want you, your family, and all of your loved ones to be a part of this celebration."
The multihour event will be premiere on Saturday, June 6, on the YouTube Originals channel and YouTubes Learn@Home site. The full schedule of commencement events will be available on the Learn@Home site beginning on Sunday, May 17. Graduates can also sign their name on the "Dear Class of 2020 Shout Out Board."
"Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement," said Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube.
The virtual event will see talks on traditional graduation-day themes mixed with music performances, and will also feature a performance by BTS and other musicians at a virtual grad night after-party.
Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya, and YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys are the other famous names who are expected to make special appearances at the event.