Rainn Wilson gave a commencement speech to rich kids — and he got very real with them.

Rainn Wilson started his New Trier High School commencement speech poking lighthearted fun at the graduates’ wealth.

Pulling from the Chicago North Shore’s most affluent neighborhoods, New Trier is known as a public school for rich kids. Even their traditional graduation garb highlights the school’s demographic.

Rather than the traditional cap and gown, the 1,000 or so graduating seniors don white tuxedos and dresses adorned with a red rose. It’s quite a sight. Photo via Upsilon Andromedae/Flickr.


Wilson graduated from New Trier decades ago. Best known for his iconic role as Dwight K. Schrute in the "The Office," Wilson also co-founded SoulPancake, a digital media company that explores life’s big questions.

The actor's love of humor and humanity shine through in his commencement speech to New Trier’s 2018 graduates.

Wilson started off joking about the school’s mascot, the Trevian.

"For those of you who don’t know, a 'Trevian' is a person from Trier, Germany, who was given a BMW on their 16th birthday," Wilson said. (Cue laughter.) He also pointed out the irony of having the ceremony in the Sears Centre "considering probably not a single person in this room has ever set foot inside of a Sears." Again, laughter. These folks know themselves.

Then he got serious about what the students’ privilege means for them as they move into the world.  

"We’re a privileged bunch in many ways," Wilson said. "Most of us have come from money, have some money, most of us are white-skinned, and come from families where there’s been a tremendous amount of success. Most of us are going to get an amazing secondary education. And for most of us, the doors to the business world, or the art world, or political world, or science world will be wide open for us."

"This is not something I ever want you to feel bad about," he continued. "What privilege means is that we have an opportunity ... not to be entitled, not to be superior, but to acknowledge our privilege and do whatever we can to help those who don’t have it."

People sometimes mistake pointing out privilege with pushing guilt. As Wilson explained, advantages and abundance are simply opportunities "to make the world a better place."

"We have an opportunity to create jobs, nonprofits, to help fund arts organizations, help make science make tremendous strides forward, and to use our education for the greater good rather than merely seeking personal comfort and personal status," he said.

The standard mantra of "be a good person" is inadequate to conquer the challenges facing humanity, Wilson explained.

"The world is hurting from disunity and injustice, and we need to do more," Wilson said. "It is our privilege to be change agents in this world, to be of maximum love in this world, of maximum service, to make every school on this planet as great as the incredible New Trier High School."

And Wilson walks his talk.

He and his wife, Holiday Reinhorn, founded an educational initiative for girls in Haiti called Lidè. He also serves on the board of the global grassroots educational nonprofit, Mona Foundation.

Wilson capped off his thoughts on privilege with a quote from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, from which Wilson draws his inspiration to serve humanity:

"Be ye loving fathers to the orphan, and a refuge to the helpless, and a treasury for the poor, and a cure for the ailing. Be ye the helpers of every victim of oppression, the patrons of the disadvantaged. Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race. Do some good to every person whose path you cross, and be of some benefit to him ... for love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest."

Imagine what the world would look like if all of us took Wilson's advice to heart and used whatever privilege we have for good.

Watch Wilson's full speech here:

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

The Hill/Twitter

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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via ABC News

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