'You’re not the future. You’re the present.'
Jimmy Fallon addressed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's class of 2018, delivering a speech we should all hear.
The "Tonight Show" host made a surprise appearance at the Parkland, Florida, school's 2018 graduation ceremony, taking the stage to a round of enthusiastic applause. The usually apolitical talk-show host used a February monologue to express support and urge attendance at the March for Our Lives event organized by the school's students in response to a mass shooting that left 17 of their classmates and teachers dead. During his June 3 commencement address, he used humor to let the school and its students know how much he's inspired by their response to tragedy.
"Most commencement speakers get up and talk in future tense: 'You will succeed. You will make us proud. You will change the world,'" Fallon said. "But I’m not going to say that because you’re not the future. You’re the present."
Congratulations Marjory Stoneman Douglas Class of 2018! You are not just the future - you are the present. Keep cha… https://t.co/1TGtPaTvFv— jimmy fallon (@jimmy fallon) 1528057396
"When something feels hard, remember that it gets better," Fallon said. "Choose to move forward. Don't let anything stop you."
It can be hard to find the silver lining in some of life's tragedies, and sometimes, you have to create your own change to find it. Fallon spoke specifically to how the students of Parkland have changed the world for all of us, finding light in the deepest darkness.
"Every bad experience can have something good that comes out of it. Sometimes things that seem like setbacks can take our lives in a totally new direction that can change our lives in ways we don't expect, and they make us better and stronger," he said. "You guys have already proved that to everyone. You took something horrific, and instead of letting it stop you, you started a movement — not just here in Florida, not just in America, but throughout the whole world. The whole world has heard your voice, and that was you making a choice."
Graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School leave their graduation ceremony. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
"Don't think about what you want to do, think about why you want to do it, and the rest will figure itself out," Fallon said.
That's great advice, no matter who you are.