May and June are typically months filled with joy and graduations. Due to COVID-19, these celebrations look very different this year. Whether you are graduating from high school, college, medical, law or graduate school, we want you to know that the change in graduation plans does not change this momentous occasion and the hard work you have put into this accomplishment.
The positive outcome of graduation being online is that it is more accessible to families and friends. It also gives the graduate freedom to choose how he/she wants to celebrate their successes. Include family and friends and host a virtual graduation. Better Homes and Gardens shares tips for throwing a virtual graduation party. Organize friends to drive by the graduate’s home with signs and decorations to celebrate.
Many celebrities and popular figures are providing virtual commencement addresses to help and inspire those graduating. To celebrate high school seniors, the Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 provides powerful messages to the countries graduating seniors. This production includes a message from Former President Barack Obama, Megan Rapinoe, Zendaya, LeBron James and many others. Harper’s Bazaar has compiled a selection of great 2020 commencement speeches.
As Oprah said in her 2020 commencement speech, “Never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion, and energy, and hope.” These past few months have challenged everyone. When celebrating accomplishments in a world that is social distancing, take the time to recognize all you have done and to know, going forward, you will make the world a better place.
You and your generation are the change agent(s) to make the world a better place. Accept this opportunity. The “possible” takes courage as you accept an element of uncertainty. Don’t let challenges define you; hardships can propel you to new heights. Climb the mountains and soar.
Make decisions relying on your good judgement. Use the metrics of honesty, righteousness, kindness, and generosity. Noble values will direct your path.
Acknowledge the power of community. You got this far from so many people who cared - parents, siblings, other family members, friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, and school administrators. These fueling forces have graced you to push yourself to be the best YOU that you can be. As Megan Rapinoe shared in Graduate Together: America Honors High School Class 2020, find and build your community to “demand better together”, and you will make it happen. “Take the torch; leave the mark”.
“...we who celebrate what you have done, who celebrate all of your achievements, we are certain of one thing. On this day, you will not let us down. Thank you. Congratulations.”- Tom Hanks, 2020 Commencement Address