The 2020 graduation season in the time of COVID-19 looks a little bit different than years past. This year’s graduates will not cross a physical stage, hear from a commencement speaker, or toss their caps in the air with their peers. But the class of 2020, with the support of millions of caring adults, worked hard for this milestone and we should continue to celebrate with them and honor their commencement this year.
What would you say to a 2020 high school graduate?
Would you share a word of advice or wisdom? Share a picture or a video expressing your excitement for the class of 2020? Acknowledge that COVID-19 has changed this moment but it cannot change what came before and what comes next?
Join America's Promise Alliance, ASCD, Learning Heroes, and MENTOR in celebrating the high school class of 2020 by sharing that message using #Letters2Grads on social media!
From May 17 – June 17, we ask that you write a note, record a video, or post a picture with your well-wishes for the class of 2020. We encourage you to write one that is personal to you.
For example, write your letter to:
- a graduate you personally know;
- graduates from your alma mater; or
- graduates in your community or state.
Post your messages on your personal social media accounts and use the hashtag #Letters2Grads.
Pick from three options!
Express yourself to a graduate. Use as many words as you like!
Share a short note to a grad encouraging them on their next steps. Make it short and sweet—maybe make it into a tweet!
Share it from the heart. Make it personal and let your child, student, or class know that you are with them and support them!
Share in the fun on Facebook by:
Add a #Letters2Grads frame to your Facebook profile picture to show your support for the Class of 2020. Here's how you can help:
- Visit Facebook’s profile frame tool.
- Make sure you’re logged in to Facebook.
- Search “Letters2Grads” in the search box.
- Click on the Letters2Grads frame
- Click “Change Picture”
Congratulations! Graduating from high school is one of life’s most important achievements. Although the current circumstances are challenging, they should not diminish your pride in this momentous occasion. You have worked incredibly hard for years towards this moment, and I hope that you have an opportunity to celebrate what you have achieved.
LSMSA played an important role in my life, as it undoubtedly has for all of you. I grew up in Jennings, a small town in south Louisiana. The opportunity to live and learn in Natchitoches, alongside classmates from every corner of Louisiana with unique experiences and viewpoints, opened up my worldview in a way that nothing else had. My time at LSMSA remains one of the most pivotal experiences of my life.
At LSMSA, I learned to value inclusion and compassion. I found the sense of belonging that I had been desperately searching for. I was so happy to be part of its welcoming community that I didn’t even mind that the highlight of most weekends was a Friday night bus ride to Wal-Mart. It’s with the benefit of hindsight that I can say my time at LSMSA laid foundation to everything that I’ve accomplished since.
You might feel a lot of pressure to have your entire life path charted out. You might think that any diversion from that path is failure. But changing your path isn’t failure—it is simply exploration. Your life will take unexpected turns, you will experience setbacks, and you will find new interests. All of that is completely normal. I’m speaking from experience: after my time at the Louisiana School, I worked in restaurants and music. I went to law school and worked for the public defender. I spent a decade in the federal government working on foreign policy and international development. And I now lead America’s Promise Alliance, where we focus on supporting all of the United States’ young people to have the chance to take as many twists and turns as I’ve had. Trust me when I say: there is no right path, only your path.
You might feel that you are alone, but you aren’t. There are countless caring adults, peers, and organizations in your community that are there to support you and want to help you be successful. One of the most important parts of becoming in adult is learning when to ask for help. The other important part is learning how important it is to help others. Rely on your community when you need it, and offer your strength when you have it to share.
I know it can be hard to find enthusiasm and optimism when so much around you is uncertain and out of your control. The resilience and strength you’ve demonstrated to achieve your graduation milestone and navigate the last few months are a clear indication that you have the ability to continue forward. Build on that energy and don’t forget how far you’ve come.
Wishing you all the best. Congratulations on your graduation!
Interim President and CEO
America’s Promise Alliance
About The GradNation Campaign
The GradNation Campaign is a national campaign that aims to increase the national graduation rate to 90 percent and put millions more young people on the path to adult success.
To propel us toward the goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students, the GradNation Campaign brings national attention to the high school graduation rate challenge and what is needed to continue to meet our goal. We do this by guiding the field towards coordinated action through our GradNation Action Platform and leveraging research and data to identify youth and places to accelerate progress. The campaign is comprised of four co-conveners – America’s Promise Alliance, Civic, Everyone Graduates Center, and Alliance for Excellent Education – and a core partner group of fifteen national organizations.
If you have questions, comments, about this initiative, please email [email protected].