Graduating together… Elizabethton XQ students join nationwide effort to celebrate Class of 2020

Published 1:19 pm Thursday, May 14, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
With graduation being much different this year nationwide due to COVID-19, that hasn’t stopped plans to continue to celebrate the Class of 2020 and the XQ Institue will be honoring students across the nation on Saturday, May 16th by airing a special called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class Of 2020.
The one hour special will be aired by more than 20 U.S. Broadcast and Cable Networks and Streaming Channels including CNN, The CW, Fox News Channel, Freeform, The Roku Channel, Univision, The Washington Post, and others.
Elizabethton High School is one of the XQ schools where some students may be included in the production according to Dustin Duncan, the Partnership Director for Elizabethton High.
“XQ Institute has partnered with numerous educational groups and celebrities to honor the high school Class of 2020 with Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” Duncan said. “The one-hour, commercial-free show will be carried by more than 20 broadcast and cable networks and streaming channels throughout the U.S.
“The program will feature graduation messages, musical performances, and inspirational vignettes from students and educators from across the country. Being that Elizabethton High School is an XQ Super School, there is a possibility we may see some of our local students featured in this production as well.
“This will be an extremely powerful and uplifting tribute to the more than 3 million high school seniors whose graduations and other milestone activities have been cut short due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
Some of the celebrity personalities and special guests that will be featured include Kane Brown, Lana Condor, David Dobrik, Dolan Twins, KAROL G, Liza Koshy, Maren Morris, National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, Olivia Wilde, and Zendaya.
These guest join an already impressive list of prominent leaders, educators, and entertainers previously announced, including President Barack Obama, LeBron James, Bad Bunny, Chika, YBN Cordae, Charli D’Amelio, Dixie D’Amelio, Loren Gray, H.E.R., the Jonas Brothers, Brandan Bmike Odums, Ben Platt, Henry Platt, Jonah Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, and Malala Yousafzai.
The XQ Institute released the following release ahead of the Saturday production.

As coronavirus has prompted the cancellation of high school graduation ceremonies, Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 will honor the more than 3 million high school seniors across the country with a joyful tribute to the Class of 2020.

Curated by high school students and educators throughout the country, with the support of the American Federation of Teachers, this special event will include a collection of commencement messages, musical performances, and inspirational vignettes.

“I was inspired to teach by my mother’s transformation as she pursued her GED later in life after being denied an education as a child due to segregation. And I have continued teaching for nearly 20 years because I am inspired every day by my students and their commitment to learning,” said 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, who teaches social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center in Richmond, Virginia, and is participating in the show.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Education is the most important foundation for progress, providing each child with the academic and emotional tools for success and a path to achieve their goals.

“I’m honored to be part of such an incredible event that recognizes the accomplishments of our nation’s high school seniors as well as the educators, mentors, and loved ones who have helped them throughout their journeys to graduation.”

Everyone will have the opportunity to interact with the #GraduateTogether campaign, leading up to the primetime graduation tribute and beyond. Students, educators, and families can share their personal stories with the campaign at or by tagging their posts on social media with the #GraduateTogether hashtag.

Twitter has released a special hashtag emoji to honor the high school Class of 2020 and is hosting a virtual watch party to create a community of unity as we all experience the show. Anyone can join the conversation by using the hashtag #GraduateTogether.

World-renowned artist JR and his participatory art project Inside Out have partnered with XQ Institute to create the #GraduateTogether Yearbook, the largest-ever high school yearbook giving graduates a place to share their portraits and stories while making a collective statement.

Using the special Inside Out #GraduateTogether Lens on Snapchat—featuring Inside Out’s iconic black and white polka-dot background—any high school senior from the Class of 2020 can take a portrait and submit it to the project at

XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation are partnering to host #GraduateTogether.

Corporate and philanthropic giving associated with #GraduateTogether will benefit DonorsChoose and America’s Food Fund to help meet student needs in some of our nation’s most underserved and under-resourced communities.