Concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic not only led to the closure of businesses and sports, but also schools, colleges and universities across the United States.
Millions of students were affected nationwide, transitioning from on-campus courses to online-only for the rest of the year to help curb the spread of the virus. As a result, traditional graduation ceremonies have been replaced by virtual festivities.
To honor the Southern California Class of 2020, Spectrum News 1 announced it will host a two-hour virtual celebration and commencement special, “SoCal Class of 2020,” on Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. PT.
Award-winning actor Jason Alexander and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will deliver the keynote address and commencement speech, respectively. Several celebrities, community leaders and professional athletes will additionally participate in the event, including Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel and Alex Caruso.
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) May 29, 2020
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) June 5, 2020
Caruso and Vogel are among a handful of special guests that will deliver shout-outs and provide congratulatory messages to the graduating seniors.
Four members of the L.A. Dodgers will join them in Kiké Hernandez, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy. Also expected to give words of encouragement are actors Chris Klein, Don Cheadle, George Lopez, Ray Romano and Nia Long; music artists Martina McBride, Mark McGrath, Jack Johnson, Rob Thomas and many more.
Hosted by anchors Giselle Fernandez and Melvin Robert, the first hour of the special will be a virtual yearbook of sorts, looking back at the school year through the eyes of local students in the region.
Students from El Segundo, Santa Ana, Burbank and other communities will share motivational stories, including those of Saugus High School, who endured a deadly school shooting and wildfires during their senior year. The special will also reflect on St. John Bosco’s state football championship season.
At 8 p.m. PT, the second hour of programming will be a “SoCal Class of 2020: Commencement Celebration,” when valedictorians from L.A., Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties will deliver speeches.
DJ Ravi Drums will additionally debut an original anthem to the Class of 2020, “Shine On, In the Cali Sun,” featuring students from the Silverlake Conservatory.
Lakers All-Star LeBron James put together a similar event last month, honoring the Classes of 2020 across the United States.