Due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19, the graduation ceremony of almost every graduate is now at hold due to a ban of large gatherings and following social distancing norms. Students graduating this year might not be able to walk across the stage to get their degree, they might not be able to click pictures throwing up hats in the air with their respective batch mates, and they might not get to shed tears while handing over that last exam sheet but they’ll still be graduating. They’re still one of those million students who are wrapping up their college chapter to start a new life ahead. So, Youtube got them covered by organizing the Dear Class of 2020.
So, the United States and YouTube came out with a way to keep them motivated and hosted an online commencement ceremony. Dear Class of 2020 is a virtual commencement/graduation event that was aired on YouTube on 07th and 8th June 2020 depending on the time zones of different countries. This celebration was for every individual who is in the class of 2020, High School, College or University. This event was roughly for 4 hrs 35 mins and many celebs participated in this by submitting their video motivating the students and some of them like Bangtan Sonyeondan abbreviated as BTS (a seven-member South Korean boy band) gave some wonderful performance which took social media by storm.
Well you need not worry if you missed this thrilling opportunity to enjoy your virtual graduation ceremony. To keep your spirits high and keep you motivated, I have summarized and compiled some of the most liked performances, commencement speeches by some of the renowned celebrities and few performances by some universities and colleges.
The event started with an opening performance by Lizzo, who happens to be an American singer, rapper, songwriter, and flutist. She played a piece of the NY Philharmonic using the flute. This proved to be a perfect start of the ceremony which made one completely engrossed in the event. She took the chance to show the scenes of current protests depicting Black Lives Matter.
Her performance was followed by a commencement speech from Alicia Keys, an American musician, singer, composer, actress, and pianist. She conveyed her concerns and showed her trust in today’s generation by saying, “The world feels broken right now. It is broken right now in so many ways, but you’re taking your heartbreak and outrage, and you’re putting it into action, and you are showing that your generation is the one that’s gonna heal this.” She then gave her heartiest congratulations and best wishes to the graduates asking them to be motivated and to do their best.
The video was then followed by Mrs. Michelle Obama addressing the graduates where she encouraged activism beyond posts and hashtags. In her speech, she brought up some not-easy-to-answer questions and some harsh truths. She also opened up the feeling disturbed by the current situation of the world, “If any of you are scared, or confused, or angry, or just plain overwhelmed by it all, if you feel like you’re searching for a lifeline just to steady yourself, you are not alone. I am feeling all of that too. I think we all are.” She also brought up some life lessons and wished best for the graduates.
Beyoncé then followed Mrs. Obama. In her speech, she spoke about starting her own business as a Black woman, paid tribute to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in her Commencement Speech. She also encouraged the graduates addressing them that – “You have arrived in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic, and worldwide expression of outrage at the senseless killing of yet another unarmed Black human being” and motivated different sections of society.
Beyoncé’s speech was then followed by BTS (RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) who gave a powerful commencement speech. Wearing sleek black suits, the seven members recorded their contribution to the event. Each took turns sharing messages of hope and inspiration for the class of 2020 in both Korean and English while revealing their own graduation stories and memories in true BTS style, they ended the clip with an energetic gesture: “Congratulations, Class of 2020!” they yelled before tossing graduation caps into the air. The ending performance of the Dear Class of 2020 was also given by them. Their performance has taken social media by storm and flooded the net.
This session was followed by some students sharing their journey and dreams, some parents congratulating the students and some celebs and YouTubers like La La Anthony, Colin Jost, Mark Rober, Chris Cassidy, a NASA Astronaut also took out some of their valuable time to congratulate the graduates.
The session was later followed by none other than Mr. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. In his commencement speech, he shared his personal experiences and the challenges he faced in his early years in the US. He believes that the youth today has a chance to change everything, “Be open, be impatient, be hopeful. If you can do that, history will remember the Class of 2020 not for what you lost, but for what you changed. You have the chance to change everything. I am optimistic you will.” He congratulated the graduates of 2020 and gave them hopes to stay motivated.
His session was then followed by another interactive session proceeded by famous personalities like Jenna Bush, an American news personality, author, and journalist, John Green the New York Times bestselling author and, the Cast of Schitt’s Creek: Moira Rose, Jhonny Rose, David Rose, Alexis Rose, Stevie, Ronnie, Patrick, Mariah Carey, and others. They were followed by some students and teachers who showed some glimpse of their unis and schools. Some students gave credits to their favorite teachers.
Then the 66th Secretary of States, Condoleezza Rice shared few precious words. She laid stress on the point that “End is both an End and a New Beginning“, motivating the students to look at a brighter future in front of them and congratulating them. Her speech session was then followed by some other renowned personalities like Malala, Jennifer Lopez, Stephan Clobert, Kerry Washington, Micheal Jordan, D-Nice, Antoni Porowski, The Try Guys, Maluma, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union and some others who inspired, motivated and congratulated the graduates. Then came the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. He stated that the graduates are unstoppable and life is to be lived. He also encouraged the graduates to discover themselves and their passions and work on it. He encouraged them to be patriotic and motivated.
After them came Lady Gaga for the speech. She discussed Racism and Police Brutality. She clearly stated that her speech was in light of Floyd’s murder. She also told graduates, “You’re watching society change in a deeply important way. This change will be slow, and we will have to be patient, but change will happen, and it will be for the better “, and encouraged graduates to treat everyone with kindness.
Her speech was then followed by a starling performance of Chloe X Haley and 25 beautiful commencement speech of different students.
And then, we had none other than Barack Obama himself. Through the Dear Class of 2020 he very nicely started with congratulating the graduates and then asking them to enjoy the very moment by taking pictures with family. He made a point that “Parents aren’t celebrating a piece of paper. They’re celebrating you – how you’ve grown, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the experiences you’ve shared.” He moved forward and bringing all the current happenings in the States into his speech and showing his faith in today’s youth by saying, “You make me optimistic about our future.“
Then we had the gorgeous and melodious Katy Perry starting her speech by thanking Obama and then proceeding with a melodious and mesmerizing performance of her latest single Daisies, which started with short video and collage of students with their Grad Caps followed by Katy singing. She ended her performance with her superhit Firework. Her performance was followed by a sizzling performance given by Megan Thee Stallion who was then followed by the CNCO band.
Now as mentioned earlier the event came to conclusion following a beautiful and cheerful performance given by BTS which gathered praise from all corners of the world and was really liked.
This initiative of organizing the Dear Class of 2020 taken by the United States is really an example that must be followed by every country of the world to motivate their graduates or students who are about to graduate and make them feel confident of the pleasure which they’re missing due to the current Covid-19 scenario.