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Graduations are canceled, so Facebook is hosting one for all U.S. students

Facebook is hosting a star-studded online commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 as schools across the U.S. remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A cast of celebrities headlined by Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement address during the graduation ceremony set to include the name of every high school and college in the U.S.

The video will be aired on Facebook Watch, as well as on the official Facebook Page for the Facebook App at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Friday, May 15, with highlights shared on Instagram.

In addition to Oprah’s speech, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, Simone Biles, and other celebrities will also share advice for the Class of 2020 during the ceremony. Miley Cyrus will perform her 2009 hit “The Climb” as part of the ceremony.

The online graduation ceremony will be accompanied by a host of different tools geared toward the seniors missing out on the last few months of their high school career.

Facebook wants grads to host Facebook graduation parties using its new Messenger Room celebrations. The socialnetwork is also offering new options for online parties, including a virtual graduation hub and special filters. 

Instagram will feature daily highlights of some of the major events seniors are missing out on — including senior skip day, which, frankly, the Class of 2020 is rocking at right now. The highlights will also feature “most likely” votes and senior portrait showcases.

Both Facebook and Instagram will also be launching graduation-themed music stickers. Facebook says these stickers will feature graduation-related songs for Stories. Instagram will also add a graduation countdown sticker and other new stickers, as well as new AR effects and a page housing all the #Graduation2020 posts.

“This is a bittersweet time for the Class of 2020,” wrote Marne Levine, Facebook’s vice president of global partnerships, business and corporate development. “As students head toward graduation, it’s not the day they might have imagined — no processions, no diploma handoffs, no parties. They are commencing at a time of great uncertainty. But graduating is a tremendous achievement, and worth pausing to celebrate even in these circumstances.”

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