Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2020!
COVID-19 disrupted the celebratory vision the graduating class of 2020 had hoped for — and that each class preceding them has been allowed. 2020 graduates won't have the formative memories of walking across the stage in cap and gown, or basking in final revelatory moments with friends, teachers, and family. The last quarter of the school year has been a whirlwind of uncertainty and disappointment for high school and college seniors. But the class of 2020 will forever be remembered for its commitment, resilience, and determination during such unprecedented times.
As virtual graduation ceremonies happened across Illinois' high schools and universities, student commencement speakers reflected upon their years of experience and education, sharing their thoughts and advice online. Below are excerpts of young leaders who spoke at their respective graduation ceremonies. Their words are poignant and inspiring.
“Here’s my challenge to you, the class of 2020. Don’t let the end of the story be the entire story. Missing out on senior week, spring sports, and graduation is not our story. The coronavirus is not our story. Our story is about all of the moments, big and small, that we have had for the past four years.”
—Ashley Devlin, Illinois College Commencement Speaker
“Today, I dare you to be brave. I dare you to break your heart and care about the world. I dare you to take that extra step outside of your comfort zone. But more importantly, I dare you to create change together.”
—Jinan Chehade, DePaul University Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Commencement Speaker
“The inequities and injustices we see today emphasize why each and every one of us are more important now than ever before in emerging not only as graduates, but as leaders.”
—Trisha Kaudinya, Northwestern University Class of 2020 Commencement Speaker
“This moment that we’re in is unpredictable and challenging, but also in beautiful ways. In all of its complexity, this moment belongs to us.”
—Briana Payton, University of Chicago School of Social Service (SSA) Commencement Speaker
“The hardest part about change is accepting it. It is only when you can do that that your fullest potential can be achieved. You are capable and ready to achieve all of your goals.”
—Jennifer Wrzala, Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Speaker
“We will re-enter this new limitless world with more hope, more compassion, and more vitality than any other generation before us has ever had. Together, we stand on the precipice of a new era filled with unlimited possibilities.”
—Maya Harris, Deerfield High School Commencement Speaker
We are proud to acknowledge the tenacity and hopefulness of our 2020 Graduates.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
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