Chicago's first-ever citywide virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday will honor more than 35,000 graduating high school seniors, most of whom saw their traditional commencements canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hour-long graduation special, "Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago," airs live on NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago and online in the player above beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Chicago’s “Hamilton” star Miguel Cervantes will serve as the commencement's emcee, and Oprah Winfrey will deliver the keynote commencement address. Chicago native and “The Voice” finalist Katie Kadan will perform the national anthem, and Common will deliver an opening dedication.
“This is an incredible opportunity to give the graduates of 2020 the celebration they deserve” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. “Completing high school is a momentous occasion and while this year’s graduation ceremony might not be what they expected, this is an opportunity to send our students off in style.”
The list of those joining Mayor Lightfoot to celebrate the graduates include: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; CEO of Chicago Public Schools Janice Jackson; CEO of My Block, My Hood, My City Jahmal Cole; Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane; Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber; Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson; Chicago Bulls’ Daniel Gafford; Chicago Bears’ Charles Leno; and Chicago Sky’s Diamond Deshields and Cheyenne Parker.