Celebs give virtual graduation speeches; seniors to #GraduateTogether May 16

It’s the time of year when celebrities take the dais and give a speech full of encouragement for the graduating senior class.

But this year the stages are empty, and the seats are void of students in their caps and gowns after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled nearly every end-of-the-year milestones for students across the country.

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The coronavirus, however, has not stopped high-profile figures such as Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Malala Yousafzai from passing on their thoughts and hopes for the graduates in the Class of 2020.

Hanks, who recently got a clean bill of health from his battle with COVID-19, had a message to the graduates from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Tom Hanks to the Wright State Class of 2020

Wright State friend Tom Hanks has a special message for our graduating Class of 2020:

Posted by Wright State University on Saturday, May 2, 2020

He called the graduates the “chosen ones” as they have adapted their lives during the “great reset, the great reboot,” referring to the pandemic.

But he isn’t the only one trying to bring praise and hope to the Class of 2020.

John Krasinski hosted his weekly “Some Good News” show.

A few weeks ago, he hosted prom for the high school seniors who would be missing the rite of passage this year due to coronavirus. This weekend, he held a commencement with some high-powered speakers.

Winfrey, Yousafzai, Steven Spielberg and Jon Stewart all spoke to graduates during Krasinski’s internet show. They spoke about how these strange times may give some of the students the push they could use. It’s also giving the students time to explore a career that can keep their passion for it going, Vulture reported.

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Stewart gave them some key, blunt advice: “I think it’s clear, sometimes in life, you’re gonna get the short end of the stick. You’re about to enter into a world where no one’s grading you. There’s none of those things that are going to be going on. Stop completing things and start living them."

Other soon-to-be graduates will have their moment in the national spotlight as the major networks will join forces for #GraduateTogether2020.

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On May 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT/MT, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will work together with social media and streaming platforms for a prime-time special honoring the Class of 2020.

Artists, athletes, musicians and icons will perform and provide messages of hope for students, teachers and their families.

On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama announced that he and former first lady Michelle Obama will be part of the broadcast.

Then on June 6 at 3 p.m. ET, the Obamas will deliver a commencement address for the class of 2020. The event is called Dear Class of 2020. They will be joined by Lada Gaga, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among others.

Click here to watch the speech on June 6.

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The special is being produced by The Entertainment Industry Foundation, The LeBron James Family Foundation and XQ Institute among others.