Jimmy Fallon has long since mastered the art of a stellar surprise — and he delivered yet again at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday

By Nick Maslow
June 03, 2018 09:21 PM
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Jimmy Fallon has long since mastered the art of a stellar surprise — and he delivered yet again at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday.

Giving the commencement speech at the Parkland, Florida, school — where a gunman killed 17 people during a mass shooting on Feb. 14 — Fallon began by congratulating the students on earning their high school diploma, according to CNN.

“Today you’re graduating from high school,” said the Tonight Show host, 43, who advocated against gun violence at the student-led protest March For Our Lives in March, where he connected with survivors of the school shooting. “You should feel incredibly proud of yourselves.”

Ever the pop culture fanatic, Fallon got the audience laughing with a joke about the ubiquitous “Yanny” or “Laurel” debate that took over the internet in May.

“That doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels — or your yannys,” said Fallon. “Some of you will grow up to hear yanny, some of you will grow up to hear laurel, but the most important thing for you to know is that neither of these things will matter by the end of the summer.”

Credit: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Then the Saturday Night Live alum seemed to get serious, only to joke about using social media as an adult. “Here’s what will matter: You, the class of 2018, will have graduated, and you won’t be classmates anymore,” he said. “You’ll be adults who Facebook search each other at two in the morning for the next 10 years.”

But the tone shifted near the end of the speech, when Fallon gave some encouraging words about pushing through challenging times. “The first thing is this: When something feels hard, remember that it gets better,” the Emmy winner shared. “Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you.”

Some of the most emotional parts of the commencement came when four seniors who died in the shooting — Meadow Pollack, Carmen Schentrup, Nicholas Dworet and Joaquin Oliver — were honored. According to CNN, each of their names were called as family members and friends were welcomed to accept the diplomas for their loved ones.