2020 has already demonstrated that it will absolutely flex on every aspect of life as hard as it possibly can, and one of those aspects is high school graduation. Normally, we’re entering the time of year in which seniors collect their diplomas and move on to work or college. It’s the last big rite of passage as a kid, but obviously graduation ceremonies have all been cancelled because of the coronavirus, so we have an entire crop of young people who won’t get to experience it. Luckily, some celebrities decided to give virtual commencement speeches and advice to the class of 2020, in the hopes of making their high school graduation still feel like a big deal.
On last week’s episode of Some Good News, actor/director John Krasinski’s charmingly homemade YouTube show about staying positive during social isolation, media icon Oprah Winfrey, legendary director Steven Spielberg, former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai stopped by (virtually, of course) to speak to some recent graduates. The guests spoke directly with the thoroughly delighted students to answer their questions, and folks, it’s pretty dang heartwarming.
Meanwhile, America’s surrogate dad Tom Hanks spoke to a graduating class of seniors from Wright State University in Ohio. As reported by CNN, Hanks delivered his five-minute commencement speech via video, which was shared via the University’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
— Wright State University (Dayton, OH) (@wrightstate) May 2, 2020
“I am calling you ‘chosen ones’ because you have been chosen in many ways,” Hanks said in the video. “You succeeded because of the aid and the love of others that are in your lives, without a doubt. But you have succeeded mostly because you, and you alone, chose to do so.” He specifically discusses the coronavirus, which he and his wife Rita Wilson both contracted back in March. “You started in the olden times, in a world back before the Great Pandemic of 2020. You will talk of those earlier years in your lives in just that way… You will be enlightened in ways your degree never held in promise. You will have made it through a time of great sacrifice and great need. No one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our normalcy than you — our chosen ones.”
You can watch Hanks’ speech in the embedded tweet above, and check out the Graduation 2020 episode of Some Good News below. Both are extremely worth your time.