Practicing social distancing in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic shouldn't mean America's graduating seniors of 2020 get left out.
Facebook is working to make things right with a special event in May called #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020. The live-streamed special will feature a commencement address by Oprah and appearances by Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, and Simone Biles. Facebook plans to announce additional guests closer to the event.
Cyrus will be performing her hit song from Hannah Montana: The Movie, "The Climb," with a powerful message about not giving up, during the stream. The celebrities and other guests involved will offer recognition to individual high schools and colleges throughout the U.S. on a state-by-state basis, with photos and videos of the class of 2020 as well as messages from principals and deans woven throughout.
"As students head toward graduation, it’s not the day they might have imagined — no processions, no diploma handoffs, no parties," said Marne Levine, Facebook’s VP of global partnerships, business and corporate development. "But graduating is a tremendous achievement, and worth pausing to celebrate even in these circumstances."
Before the stream takes place, on May 11, Instagram will start rolling out senior portrait showcases and senior skip day hype tools, with features like graduation countdown stickers, new AR effects, and a hashtag page just for #Graduation2020. There will also be a space in Facebook and Instagram Stories with graduation-related songs and other content for users to celebrate with.
The event will take place on Friday, May 15 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and will take place over the course of several hours. It will be streamed over Facebook Watch, with individual clips being posted to the official Instagram account and celebrities' handles as well. It may be an unorthodox celebration this year, but it's a happy time nevertheless!