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LeBron James, Bad Bunny, Jonas Brothers to throw class of 2020 a virtual graduation

Bad Bunny will be among the entertainers for "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020."
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

LeBron James isn’t going to let the coronavirus crisis ruin high school graduations this year.

On Wednesday, the LeBron James Family Foundation announced that it will celebrate seniors in a special event called “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" at 5 p.m. Pacific on May 16 with help from superstar guests.

The Los Angeles Lakers star has drafted Bad Bunny, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers, Chika, YBN Cordae, H.E.R., Ben Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe and Malala Yousafzai for the hourlong special. It will air simultaneously on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the streaming platforms Complex Networks, Facebook app, Instagram, People TV, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

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“We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics. It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together — students, parents, educators, community members and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time,” James said in a release.

“These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it,” the basketball great added.

The commercial-free, multimedia event — which will be curated by high school students and educators across the country with support from the American Federation of Teachers — will feature a collection of vignettes, commencement speeches and celebrity performances.

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Students, families and teachers will be encouraged to submit photos and videos using #GraduateTogether for a chance to have them included in the telecast. Don’t know what to do with your senior portrait? Artist JR is inviting seniors to share them for the virtual yearbook celebrating the nation’s 2020 high school graduates. Local TV stations also will feature shout-outs to high school students in their communities.

Earlier this week, Facebook and Instagram announced they are throwing a virtual graduation for the class of 2020, featuring Oprah Winfrey as the commencement speaker, a performance by Miley Cyrus and special messages from Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, Simone Biles and more.

Coronavirus has canceled graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020, so Facebook has tapped Oprah Winfrey, Simone Biles and other celebs for a virtual event.


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