Hollywood celebrities including Amy Schumer, Gal Gadot, Jason Alexander, and Henry Winkler joined forces with former president Bill Clinton on Saturday for the first hour of CNN’s “Graduate Together: Honoring the Class of 2020” — a virtual graduation special that served as an extended pep talk to graduating high school seniors.
While the celebrities steered clear of politics, Clinton’s message briefly alluded to some key points of the Democrat platform, including economic inequalities and the environment.
Graduation ceremonies across the countries have been canceled due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Instead, graduating seniors have to settle for drive-through ceremonies and online proms.
Comedian Amy Schumer helped with the spirit-lifting duties, seemingly appearing on camera without makeup to bolster morale and impart wisdom.
“You just learned everything you need to know,” she said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so you better live today in a way that you’re proud of and a way you can be present for and my other advice would be don’t try to make your parents proud of you. Make yourself happy.”
Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot quoted the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, urging graduates to “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life.”
“The words had a profound influence on many young people like myself growing up in Israel,” the Hollywood star said.
Seinfeld star Jason Alexander called the Class of 2020 “heroes.”
“It’s intellect that got you through it. It’s your open mind and eyes and heart that got you through it. It’s your great spirit that got you through it and it’s all those things that are going to get you through successful and happy hopefully all the rest of your days,” he said.
Barry star Henry Winkler also praised this year’s graduating class.
“This is what I want you to know, whenever we get back to whatever normal is, this world, this country, your state, your city, is going to need everything you can do. Your energy, your imagination, your tenacity, your emotionality,”he said.
— Clinton Foundation (@ClintonFdn) May 17, 2020
Former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez also put in an appearance, saying: “Now you can go out and accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish, whether it’s in business, or medicine, athletics, art, writing or anything. Go out there and reach for the stars.”
Comedian Keegan-Michael Key offered words of encouragement by referring to his substitute teacher sketch from Comedy Central’s Key & Peele.
Key said he was proud of the class of 2020, including “Blakes, Denises, Jaclyns… Aarons, especially the Aarons. To the entire graduating class of 2020, congratulations. Go get em!”
President Clinton appeared on CNN near the end of the hour and spoke about a world of “growing inequalities.”
“I urge you to embrace the challenge. The world needs you. Your country needs you. Even before the outbreak, you knew you were entering a world of growing inequalities, and divisive tribalism, with people pulling away from those who are different from them,” he said. “Seething resentments and a broken information system have empowered those who for profit and power for themselves, are willing to inflame our worst instincts. It’s put your future, our democracy, and our very planet at risk.”