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This Dec. 13, 2019 file photo shows former President Barack Obama speaking at the Gathering of Rising Leaders in the Asia Pacific. Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt, among others. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Federal

Barack Obama will headline televised prime-time commencement

ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC will air fete with LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the high school Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, and Ben Platt, 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, according to the announcement Tuesday from organizers.

While the coronavirus crisis has canceled so much for the Class of 2020, including most commencements (though some schools planned on-line celebrations) plus proms, and other celebrations, this year’s graduates will wind up having a commencement on a grand scale after all.

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, Megan Rapinoe, and 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 have missed 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 added.

James is the NBA superstar. Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Platt is the Tony-award winning actor, singer, and songwriter.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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