To help the graduating class of 2020 celebrate their myriad of accomplishments during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Barack and Michelle Obama will host a virtual graduation ceremony. The Obamas join Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai, and more to form a star-studded list of commencement speakers set to address graduates at YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" event in June.
"To the Class of 2020, I know how hard you all have worked to make it to graduation," Michelle wrote in a recent Instagram post. "And I know that none of you imagined you would be closing this chapter of your life through a computer or phone screen. But I still want to make sure you still get the celebration you deserve."
To help high school, college, and other graduates around the country celebrate all of their hard work, hours of studying, extracurricular activities, and academic achievements, Michelle announced Tuesday she would host a virtual graduation on June 6 with the help of her Reach Higher Initiative and YouTube Originals.
"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 former first lady said.
The global coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on many graduates' senior years as schools transition to remote learning and cancel in-person commencement and end-of-year activities in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. And although Michelle can't undue what's already been done, the former first lady said she hopes to make her virtual graduation a special one.
"We want to do this right for all of you, so I'll be inviting some very special guests — including @BarackObama — to help ring in this momentous day," she said.
The former president said Tuesday that he was excited to help this year's graduates, many of whom will be unable to attend in-person ceremonies due to the current global health pandemic, celebrate. "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," Obama wrote in an Instagram post, adding that he's "always loved joining commencements."
According to CBS News, the former president is also expected to participate in a livestreamed event honoring graduates from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on May 16 before speaking (virtually) at a commencement event honoring high school graduates later that same day. The hour-long "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" event, which has been organized by the XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation, is expected to air on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, the news outlet reported.
On June 6, South Korean boy band BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Alphabet, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai are expected to join the Obamas as commencement speakers for YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" event. A number of other notable public figures, including Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Zendaya, and Chloe x Halle are also expected to make special (virtual) appearances at the event.
While the full schedule for YouTube's graduation events won't be available until May 17 (at which time you'll find it at YouTube's Learn@Home site), graduates and their families can set a reminder for the June 6 event through YouTube here.