As the world continues to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, high schools across the United States have closed, and college campuses have completely emptied out. With many institutions turning to online learning to help students finish out their academic years, that leaves many seniors, in particular, attending virtual graduation ceremonies and proms to make up for the pivotal life moments they might otherwise miss out on. And while an online alternative might not replicate the catharsis of a traditional event, YouTube is working to make the class of 2020 feel special in these unprecedented times.
The streaming platform is bringing together the likes of BTS, Lady Gaga, and Barack and Michelle Obama for the multihour virtual commencement "Dear Class of 2020." The event is a partnership between YouTube and Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative, Born This Way Foundation, Malala Fund, TODAY, and Ideas United.
The ceremony will stream via YouTube on June 6 and feature individual speeches from the Obamas, who will headline the event. According to a press release, it will also include speeches from Lady Gaga, BTS, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. BTS will be one of a number of performers toasting the graduating class with an afterparty show.
They will be joined by a number of stars slated to make special appearances, including Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, and Zendaya. Popular YouTubers, like the Try Guys and Mr. Kate, will also be in on the fun.
"Dear Class of 2020" is one of a number virtual graduation events celebrating this year's graduates. On May 15, Facebook will bring together Oprah, Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, and more for the livestream special #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020.