Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and more stars have lent their voices to celebrate the class of 2020

By Diane J. Cho
May 20, 2020 03:36 PM
Barack Obama
Getty Images

No one could've predicted that the class of 2020 would have to trade their in-person graduation ceremonies for livestreams and Zoom calls. However, this year's graduating class has pioneered the world's new normal by triumphantly finishing their academic year at home, and that's something to be extremely proud of.

To help celebrate and uplift all graduating students across the country for their ability to adapt and thrive during these unprecedented times, A-list stars have rallied to salute young people's efforts and offer them important pieces of advice as they enter the next phases of their lives.

President Barack Obama

While the former president knows how devastating it is for students who've had to miss out on senior nights, proms and graduation ceremonies, he also knows that the future is bright for these young adults, as they prepare to forge their ways as leaders in a post-COVID world.

He concluded his powerful message to the class of 2020 by saying, "With so much uncertainty — when everything is suddenly up for grabs, this is your generation's world to shape."

Tom Hanks

Hanks honored the students at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, by acknowledging that many things may feel uncertain right now but "we are certain of one thing on this day: You will not let us down."

Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey appeared on Good Morning America to send a positive message to the students of Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management, most of whom will enter the world as first responders during the pandemic. He congratulated their accomplishments and suggested that they see their unconventional start to life post-school as "a badge of honor" as they join others on the frontlines.

Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey asked the "chosen class" of 2020 if they can "use the disorder that COVID-19 has wrought" to "reorder our way of being." She challenged them to use this time to help rebuild a world that is more beautiful, just and kind. She powerfully ended her impassioned speech by simply saying, "Be the class that commenced a new way forward."

Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher spoke candidly to the students of the University of Iowa, his alma mater, to let them know that the key to achieving everything you want in life is to do away with all of your set expectations. Having the "willingness to throw out the master plan" will make more room for you to explore what you want, without being bound to what you think you're supposed to be doing to get there.

Miley Cyrus

Before Cyrus put on a powerful performance of "The Climb," she shared a sweet and short message to everyone watching: "Keep the faith. Keep on moving. Keep climbing."

Lana Condor, Cardi B, DJ Khaled and More

As a special surprise, Instagram brought together a handful of celebrities to create an empowering video that celebrates students from around the world. Everyone from Amy Schumer to Diplo to Selena Gomez took a moment to congratulate graduates and wish them luck as they start their journeys to become who they were meant to be.