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A Virtual Graduation Ceremony for Chicago's High School Seniors

Daniel Hautzinger
Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago

Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago airs on WTTW on Sunday, June 14 at 1:00 pm.

As summer approaches in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country have had to reimagine graduation, that typical spring rite of passage, given that large gatherings of people are currently not allowed in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Chicago high school seniors may not be able to gather in-person for their diplomas, but on Sunday, June 14, they can celebrate with students and families across the city in a virtual graduation ceremony airing on WTTW and other local channels, put together by the City of Chicago and Citadel.

The ceremony will be emceed by Miguel Cervantes, the star of Chicago's run of Hamilton, and will include a commencement address by Oprah Winfrey as well as a speech by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The national anthem will be sung by Katie Kadan from The Voice, while Second City will offer a comedy skit and various celebrities and sports figures from Chicago will appear. 

Students will be represented in a variety of performances, including the Dunbar Vocational Career Academy drumline, a Class of 2020 poem written and performed by ChiArts students, and a spoken word performance by Kenwood High School students. The class of 2020 will be celebrated by a single Valedictorian speech written and spoken by students from high schools across city. Graduating seniors are encouraged to submit a video of their graduation walk at for a chance to appear in the virtual ceremony. 

The virtual ceremony is produced in partnership with ABC7 and ABC's Localish digital network. It will be broadcast in Spanish on Univision Chicago, and will be available to stream on the City of Chicago website and social media channels.