Former President Barack Obama Hosts Online Commencement for Graduating Class of 2020

Former+President+Barack+Obama+Hosts+Online+Commencement+for+Graduating+Class+of+2020

artwork by Caeli Willard

Maya Poblete, Staff Writer

   On Saturday, June 6 at 12 p.m. PST, Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama will headline Youtube Original’s Dear Class of 2020 virtual commencement live stream to honor and celebrate graduates around the world, most of whom are missing their in-person graduations due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

   According to YouTube, the multi-hour event will feature commencement addresses from  Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, South Korean Boy Band BTS, Activist Malala Yousafzai, Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Lady Gaga, Business Executive Sundar Pichai, and Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (youtube.com).

   In addition, there will also be various musical performances and guest appearances throughout the day from A-list celebrities including Lizzo, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Zendaya, Demi Lovato, and many more (deadline.com). 

   Furthermore, according to Variety, following the commencement, there will be a virtual Grad-night afterparty headlined by BTS, featuring performances from BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Doja Cat, and more (variety.com).

   According to ABC News, the former president’s office stated, “Over the past month, President and Mrs. Obama have received dozens of requests from around the globe to address graduating classes whose in-person commencement events have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” (abcnews.com). 

   In response to the high demand, Obama shared on social media, “I’ve always loved joining commencements — the cumulation of years of hard work and sacrifice. 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.”

   On May 5, over social media, the Obamas announced their involvement in multiple virtual commencements, including the Graduate Together: High School Class of 2020 Commencement and Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition where the President gave commencement speeches for graduates from high school and historically black colleges and universities on Saturday, May 16. 

   Senior Chloe Adolfo shared, “It sucks that we won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony, but I think it’s really nice how many influencers and leaders are hosting virtual commencements for the class of 2020. It kind of lightens up the atmosphere during these unprecedented times.”

   Recently, YouTube created a project where graduating students from around the country were given the chance to upload videos involving favorite memories, teacher shout outs, and at-home celebrations. They shared that they will highlight these inspiring videos in the weeks leading up to the June 6 live stream (dearclassof2020.net).