With graduation season upended by the coronavirus pandemic, LeBron James kicked off a special event -- Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 -- to celebrate more than 3 million high school seniors across the nation.
James opened the virtual ceremony by commending the senior class for their resilience and hard work.
"You should've had a real graduation, I know. You should've had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy," James said.
The one-hour special aired simultaneously across all broadcast platforms -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- and on a host of social media and streaming services.
The program included speeches from former President Barack Obama and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, as well as numerous celebrity appearances and musical performances.
James, who founded the I Promise School to help at-risk youth in 2018 in Akron, Ohio, spoke again near the end of the program about the importance of schools and supporting communities.
"Our schools are our safety net," LeBron James says. "To the Class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net ... and now ... it is time to chase every dream, accept every challenge, strive for greatness, honor every promise and recommit to your community." pic.twitter.com/LQDnrIvICY— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 17, 2020
“Our school are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment. And now, it’s time to go to a new place,” James said.
James put on the event with his LeBron James Family Foundation in conjunction with the XQ Institute and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
James closed with some final words of encouragement: "Remember one thing, you're all kings and queens."
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