We know that the 2020 academic year offered challenging and unprecedented moments for educators, families, and students across the country. As we watched high school buildings close indefinitely, we watched time-honored traditions and high school experiences evaporate. For the Class of 2020, we know that meant that your K-12 education—in many ways—came to an unceremonious end.
In order to provide the perfect punctuation for the Class of 2020, this past Saturday, America came together to honor high school seniors with a first-of-its-kind national graduation ceremony—Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020. The prime time celebration brought educators, students, celebrities, and national leaders together to recognize and appreciate the resilience of the Class of 2020.
The night was filled with videos, photos, and personal messages from high school seniors, educators, and families meant to uplift, celebrate, and honor this year’s graduating seniors. Here are some of our favorite moments:
WATCH PRESIDENT OBAMA COMMENCEMENT SPEECH FROM #GRADUATETOGETHER
Former President Obama gave a message of hope and resilience to the Class of 2020. Reminding students that through this pandemic, we can become a more compassionate, innovative, and inclusive country.
WATCH LEBRON JAMES’ COMMENCEMENT SPEECH FROM #GRADUATETOGETHER
NBA star and community leader LeBron James addressed the Class of 2020, urging them to reinvest in their community and reminding them that their coaches, teachers, and parents helped them get to this monumental moment. “Now it is time to go to a new place. It is time to chase every dream, accept every challenge, strive for greatness, honor every promise, and recommit to your community.”
WATCH TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET’S MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2020
Timothée Chalamet gave a fun shoutout to his high school statistics teacher, riffing on a pretty hilarious statistics rap video from his high school days.
Here at XQ, we found Priscilla Arceo’s address to the Class of 2020 to be the most inspiring moment from the show. The commencement speech is best watched alongside Priscilla’s reaction video. This side-by-side video perfectly captures how important that moment was for Priscilla, her mother, and everyone who watched.
Most importantly, we don’t want the celebration of the Class of 2020 to end here, we want you to take this moment as a starting point—as a place to make your graduation special, local, and memorable for the seniors in your community.
KEEP THE CELEBRATION GOING!
- Relive the moments.
- If you missed the broadcast or if you are looking to re-watch your favorite moment from the show, check out the Rethink Together Forum for a link to the whole show or watch your favorite clips.
- Tell the Class of 2020 to participate in the largest yearbook, ever.
- If you saw the celebration, you may remember LeBron James walking around a warehouse full of portraits of graduating seniors. You may even want to decorate your own photo with the fun polka dot images scattered throughout the show. Luckily, all the members of the Class of 2020 can submit photos to the first-ever National High School Yearbook in partnership with JR’s global Inside Out participator photo project.
- Host a remote graduation ceremony for seniors in your community.
- Check out to see how your state is celebrating the Class of 2020.
- Each state is different. They all have their special stories, accents, and jokes—it’s one of the things that makes each state special. To help celebrate the graduating Class of 2020, XQ tapped the education chiefs of each state to offer a special send-off for this year’s graduating seniors. Check out your state’s speech here.
- Get the Spotify playlist.
- Can’t stop bobbing your head to the songs you’re hearing on the show? Get the playlist on Spotify and listen to it any time you want.
Are you a member of the Class of 2020 or is your loved one? Share a reflection about #GraduateTogether with us by sending an email to [email protected].