Barack Obama Will Lead Televised Commencement

The former president and a long list of ceremonies will celebrate a national high school commencement for seniors denied a ceremony by Covid-19.

Former President Barack Obama will lead a nationally televised high school commencement ceremony on May 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. (AP photo/Vincent Thian)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the high school Class of 2020 during an hourlong event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Megan Rapinoe, among others.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will simultaneously air the special May 16 at 8 p.m. EDT along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners.

Several high school students from Chicago public schools and the Obama Youth Jobs Corps will join, as will the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, actor Ben Platt and singer-songwriter H.E.R.

The event is titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” It’s hosted by the education advocacy group XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and The Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Obama will reflect on the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruption of school life, especially for seniors who will miss out on their milestone rites of passage.

“This high school graduation season will be anything but ordinary — but that’s all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement, and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world,” Russlynn Ali, CEO and co-founder of XQ Institute, said in a statement.

“We are grateful to President Obama for giving this gift to our nation’s three million high school seniors as they #GraduateTogether,” she said.

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