Two graduation specials Saturday — CNN’s “Class of 2020: In This Together” and LeBron James’ “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” — were held Saturday to honor the graduates.
Hollywood actress Gal Gadot told 2020 graduates that even though the next steps in their lives are unclear and they may feel powerless, they should trust themselves.
Quoting Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, the first female prime minister for Israel, Gadot told graduates to “create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
Keegan-Michael Key references his famous substitute teacher skit
As one of the most popular substitute teachers, actor Keegan-Michael Key re-channeled the classic skit from the comedy show “Key & Peele” where he played a teacher who mispronounced common names like Blake and Aaron.
Key told graduates he was proud of everyone in the class of 2020, including “Blakes, Denises, Jaclyns… Aarons, especially the Aarons. To the entire graduating class of 2020, congratulations. Go get em!”
Bill Clinton tells graduates the world needs them
Former President Bill Clinton told the class of 2020 that the Covid-19 pandemic “has given you a graduation you will never forget and it’s released you into an uncertain future.”
“I urge you to embrace the challenge. The world needs you. Your country needs you. Even before the outbreak, you knew you were entering a world of growing inequalities, and divisive tribalism, with people pulling away from those who are different from them. Seething resentments and a broken information system have empowered those who for profit and power for themselves, are willing to inflame our worst instincts. It’s put your future, our democracy, and our very planet at risk,” he said.
Clinton told the class of 2020, “I know you’ve been dealt a hard hand, but you can play it well.”
“With a tough but open mind and a caring heart, you can help keep us together,” he added.
Malala Yousafzai says graduates won’t be defined by loss
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said Saturday that she, too, was missing her graduation like the class of 2020.
“We’re not alone,” she said.
Yousafzai also called on graduates to remember girls all around the world who “may never return to the classroom because of this crisis.”
“The class of 2020 won’t be defined by what we lost to this virus but by how we responded to it. The world is yours now. And I can’t wait to see what you make of it,” she said.
LeBron James asks graduates not to forget their safety nets
NBA superstar LeBron James told the class of 2020 “do not forget your safety net” of teachers, coaches, pastors, friends and family.
He asked the graduates to “recommit to your community.”
“Class of 2020, I know the last thing you want to hear right now is stay home. It’s not my message to you. My message is stay close to home. Maybe not physically but in every other way possible,” he said.
James told the class of 2020, “the world has changed. You will determine how we rebuild.”
Barack Obama offers 3 pieces of advice to the class of 2020
Former President Barack Obama told the class of 2020 they’ve overcame many obstacles including illness, losing a parent or having a parent that lost a job.
And as seniors were getting ready to graduate, Covid-19 struck, Obama said. Despite all the obstacles, Obama said the class of 2020 will continue to make him and his wife Michelle Obama proud.
Obama did offer three pieces of advice to the class of 2020: Don’t be afraid, do what you think is right and build a community.
“You won’t get it right every time,” Obama said. “You’ll make mistakes like we all do. But if you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself even when it’s hard, even when it’s inconvenient, people will notice. They’ll gravitate toward you. And you’ll be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”
CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Mike Hayes contributed to this report.