For the Class of 2020, rites of passage, like convocation ceremonies, are unfortunately not an option due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of these traditional events, YouTube has announced a virtual graduation ceremony called “Dear Class of 2020,” airing this June. The online event will feature an impressive roster of celebrity speakers and performers that could easily rival any of the cancelled music festivals of this year.

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To the #Classof2020, I know how hard you all have worked to make it to graduation. You’ve put in long hours studying. You’ve thrown yourself into extracurricular activities and after-school jobs. And you’ve done everything you can to be there for your friends through it all. Some of you will be the first in your families to graduate from high school or college, making this occasion all the more special. 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. That’s why, through my @reachhigher Initiative, I’m working with @youtube Originals to host a special virtual graduation for you on June 6th. 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. And 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. RSVP here and then tune in on June 6th at #ReachHigher

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be giving speeches, both separately and together. Other speakers include Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai and BTS, who will also be performing at a virtual afterparty. Viewers will also see appearances by Alicia Keys, Zendaya, Kelly Rowland and Kerry Washington, among others.

“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 Original Content for YouTube, in a press release. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”

Students can connect with their peers while watching the video via Google Meet, a premium service made free for anyone with an email account.

“Dear Class of 2020” premieres on YouTube Originals and the [email protected] site on June 6. Full event schedule will be announced on May 17.


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