With the Class of 2020 unlikely to be able to celebrate their graduation, a huge television special is being planned that will air on the big broadcast networks--ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC--and digital platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 will be broadcast commercial free Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Backed by Laurene Powell Jobs’ XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the broadcast will include a collection of commencement addresses, celebrity performances, and inspirational vignettes
Among those scheduled to appear are James, Bad Bunny, Charli D'Amelio, Dixie D'Amelio, Chika, YBN Cordae, Loren Gray, H.E.R., the Jonas Brothers, Brandan "B-mike" Odums, Ben Platt, Henry Platt, Jonah Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Malala Yousafzai and others yet to be named.
#GraduateTogether will also be supporting the charitable work of DonorsChoose and America’s Food Fund. DonorsChoose gives public school teachers working in high-need communities the opportunity to request the materials and resources their students need to keep learning. America’s Food Fund provides funding to hunger-relief organizations, ensuring students who rely on school-lunch programs still have safe, consistent access to meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other organizations supporting this special event include CAA, which is helping rally the creative community around this effort; Complex Networks, which will create specialized programming for youth audiences leading up to the show; and People, which is leading a national search for exceptional high schoolers and teachers. Those inspirational stories will be told during the broadcast, in the magazine, and on People.com and PeopleTV.
The show is being produced by Done + Dusted and SpringHill Entertainment.
The special will help an estimated 3 million high school seniors commemorate their achievement.
“We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics. It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together—students, parents, educators, community members, and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time,” said LeBron James.
“These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it,” James said.
#GraduateTogether is inviting students, educators, and families to submit their own videos and photos online for consideration to be included in the telecast. In addition, renowned artist JR and his global participatory art project, Inside Out, will invite high school students everywhere to share their portraits in celebration of being part of the graduating Class of 2020. And because high school graduations are local, local television stations will also feature custom breakaways to celebrate the achievements of high school students in their own communities.
“At XQ, we work to reimagine the American high school experience—but no one could have imagined the profound changes that have upended the Class of 2020's final days of the school year,” said Russlynn Ali, co-founder and CEO of XQ Institute. “It has been remarkable to watch these young people, in the face of an unprecedented challenge, demonstrate courage and resilience beyond their years. In doing so, they have given every American reason to feel hopeful about our future. #GraduateTogether is an opportunity for us all to pay tribute to what these incredible students have accomplished.”
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