RICHMOND, Va. — In order to make sure the Class of 2020 is fully recognized for their achievements, Governor Northam and First Lady Pam Northam will be throwing a special, virtual celebration on Friday.
They've named the event "Virginia Graduates Together." There will be musical performances, a special address from the governor and first lady, a keynote speech from United States Women’s National Soccer champion Angela Hucles Mangano, and well-wishes from notable Virginians.
The event will be broadcasted on Blue Ridge PBS, Virginia Public Media and WHRO and streamed on Facebook Live and Youtube through WETA at 5 p.m. on Friday.
The coronavirus outbreak has impacted schools in major ways over the last few months. Instruction methods have changed, prom season was effectively spoiled and most ceremonies recognizing a precious milestone have been taken from thousands of high school and college graduates.
“Virginia’s class of 2020 is graduating during an unprecedented and difficult time, and I know this is not the end of the school year that any of us imagined,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia students have demonstrated tremendous resilience throughout this health crisis, and we want to ensure their accomplishments are celebrated in a big way. We look forward to commemorating one of life’s greatest milestones together as a Commonwealth and giving our graduates a strong send-off to their bright futures.”
Hucles Mangano, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is a native of Virginia Beach and a graduate of the University of Virginia. The 4-time All-ACC soccer player and member of two United States women’s World Cup soccer teams is also a businesswoman and is known as an advocate for gender diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Many of the nearly 600 videos and photos submitted to VPM by graduates will be featured in the 30-minute program. Students, families, and teachers can join the celebration on social media by sharing cap and gown photos, well-wishes, videos, and more using the hashtag #GraduateTogetherVA.