The seniors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduated last night at the BB&T Center. They were the youngest survivors of the shooting- just freshman the year it took place. As you may know, this week Principal Kefford had been looking for a commencement speaker for the graduation ceremony even up to the very last minute. The whole community gathered to try to find someone. As it turns out, President Joe Biden and DJ Khaled were among those who surprised the class with video messages during the ceremony.
“Even through hard times, dark times, you was able to be the light,” DJ Khaled said. “Being the light is the most powerful thing in the world. You’re the future, new world, new generation, and you’re gonna run it and be our next presidents, doctors, athletes, musicians.
“To graduate is a big accomplishment,” he said. “You really stood up and represented that light and love, and it’s powerful and we can feel it worldwide.”
President Joe Biden also sent a video message to the graduating class. “I know you’ve heard from a lot of folks today, but I wanted to add my congratulations to the graduates,” he said in the video. “Three years ago, your lives and the lives of this community changed in an instant. This class lost a piece of its soul. You’ve been tested in ways no young person should ever have to face — from freshman year, a year of unspeakable loss, to a junior and senior year upended by a pandemic.
Other celebrities came together in a video montage for the students including Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, and more.
During the ceremony, the nine lives who were lost on February 14, 2018 were also honored. The victims' families were invited on stage to honor their children who should've graduated last night.
This was a beautiful moment for these students who have endured so much tragedy in the past four years between the shooting and the last year and a half dealing with COVID-19. These students and their story have touched all of our lives and we are SO proud of you! Congratulations to the class of 2021!