Millions of high school and college seniors are grappling with the disappointment of not being able to attend their graduation ceremonies as planned. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Class of 2020 has had to miss out on so many precious moments with their friends and classmates, but perhaps the hardest loss will be graduation itself.
That is why Oprah Winfrey is teaming up with Facebook to help create a virtual graduation ceremony for all those hard-working high school and college seniors who won’t be able to walk across the stage and collect their diploma as planned.
On May 15, Facebook is holding a streaming event on Facebook Watch to commemorate and lift up seniors across the globe. The multi-hour event is called “#Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020,” and it can be accessed at no charge by anyone with a Facebook account.
Starting at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern, this virtual graduation celebration will have daily programming including a commencement address from none other than Oprah Winfrey herself. Other stars will also join in the programming, including Simone Biles, Awkwafina, Lil Nas X and Jennifer Garner.
Starting on May 11, Instagram is also going to join in on the graduation fun with their own special programming that will be themed around senior experiences, and both Facebook and Instagram are going to offer new graduation features, including countdown and celebratory stickers and new augmented reality effects. We wonder if they plan to roll out an AR background that can make it look like seniors are really on stage!
Winfrey is a popular commencement speaker. Last spring, she was on hand at Colorado College to congratulate the Class of 2019 and share some words of wisdom — and you can see in this Instagram post just how exciting it is for students to have none other than Oprah herself giving the speech at their graduation:
As difficult as this time has been for the millions in social isolation, technology is helping to ease this burden just a little bit.
Congratulations, Class of 2020!