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In which John shares his remarks to the Class of 2020. You can watch the whole YouTube graduation extravaganza featuring everyone from BTS to ASAP Science to Barack Obama here:

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  Several weeks ago, YouTube asked me to be part of their Class of 2020 celebration and I wanted to share today some of the resulting video, which I made in the hopes of encouraging students and teachers and really anyone because I feel like we could all use a little fuel.

Hello and congratulations.  I know it feels weird to understand unambiguously celebrate anything these days with fear and sadness abounding in every direction, but you've accomplished is real and it's important and it's worthy of celebration.  I actually have a related story, although I didn't experience anything like the disruption you're currently going through.  I did have a somewhat unusual graduation.  

When I was a junior in college, I had to take a semester off because of some mental health problems so I graduated later than most of my classmates and I remember being in the audience watching them graduate with their caps and gowns and I was really happy for them, but I also felt this gnawing sense of hurt.  I wanted to be celebrating with them and I couldn't help but feel like I was a disappointment.  I figured that when I did graduate in December, somebody would just mail me my diploma and that would be it, but here's what happened instead.

One of my professors at Kenyon College, Donald Rogan, conspired with some other professors and some of my friends to throw me an unofficial graduation.  After finals that semester, Professor Rogan gathered us in his home, offered a brief commencement address, and had me walk across the stage of his living room to accept a fake diploma that he had made for me.

It wasn't the college graduation I had dreamed of, but it was still really meaningful for me.  In fact, I still have Professor Rogan diploma and I have no idea where my actual college diploma is.  This is a symbol for me of how great teachers really can change the lives of their students. 

If you have such teachers, I hope you're able to thank them today and I hope that you're able to do for yourselves and for your friends what Professor Rogan did for me and find ways to commemorate and celebrate this achievement.  

Before I go, I'd like to ask you to do something I learned from the children's television host Fred Rogers.  You're likely separated from many people you care about.  I know I am, and you may be separated from some of the people whose generosity helped you to achieve what you're celebrating today.  Friends, family, teachers, mentors, there are so many people who loved you up into this moment and I'd like to ask you to spend one minute of silence thinking about those people.  Now I know a minute of silence on the internet is a very long time, but we can do this together.  I'll keep the time.  

I know many of those people can't be with you right now and I'm sure that's very hard.  Maybe they're locked down somewhere else, or maybe they're not with us anymore, but I want you to know something.  Those people you were just thinking about, they are so proud of you today.  They are so, so proud, and that's true whether you graduated this year or not.  Hank, I'll see you on Friday.