A high school senior asked the Obamas to give a commencement speech for the Class of 2020 and now it's happening
ABC World news Tonight / Twitter

The Class of 2020 has to feel massively let down this time of year. After working so hard to reach the finish line, most won't be able to attend a public graduation ceremony. They'll also miss out on traditional graduation events such as prom, banquets, senior ditch day, and baccalaureate.

To help make graduation day feel like less of a drag, California high school senior Lincoln Debenham tweeted Barack Obama last month asking him to give a speech to the nation's 2020 graduating class to make up for the lost ceremony.



"I'm saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation," Lincoln wrote. "In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020."

Then he started the hashtag #ObamaCommencement2020 .

This created a groundswell on social media for Barack and Michelle Obama to deliver commencement speeches. Who better to send the Class of 2020 out into the real world? According to Gallup, the Obamas are the most admired man and woman in the world.

Well, it looks like Lincoln and countless other graduates are going to get their wish.

The Obamas are set to deliver a virtual commencement celebration for graduates from high school, university or "any other kind of school," Michelle Obama tweeted Tuesday. The special will take place on YouTube on June 6, 2020, and is called "Dear Class of 2020."

The special will also feature appearances by Lady Gaga, BTS, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and activist Malala Yousafzai.

"I've always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice," Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. "Even if we can't get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones."

In addition to the YouTube special, Barack Obama will deliver a virtual commencement speech for graduates from historically black colleges and universities as well. On May 16, he will also appear on a television special for high school graduates that will air across the major TV networks.

Lincoln was understandably excited to hear the announcement.

There hasn't been similar clamoring from graduates to hear from the current president. A search of #TrumpCommencement2020 yields about five people who think Trump should speak to the graduating class.


As Barack Obama said on Twitter he is pretty fond of giving commencement speeches. Here's one from Rutgers in 2016 where he gave some advice that's just as good in 2020.


President Obama Delivers the Rutgers University Commencement Address www.youtube.com


Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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