Governor, First Lady Northam host ‘Virginia Graduates Together’ virtual event Friday

Richmond

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam addresses a commemorative meeting of the Virginia General Assembly on the 400th anniversary of the first House of Burgess meeting at a church in Historic Jamestown, Va., on the site where the meeting took place, Tuesday, July 30, 2019. President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak later at a second ceremony to mark the historic meeting, which was the first representative assembly in the colony. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) To honor the class of 2020 and as a result of the canceled graduations, Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam will be hosting a statewide “Virginia Graduates Together” virtual celebration on Friday.

The broadcast and streaming celebration begins at 5 p.m. on May 29 and is produced by Virginia Public Media in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the Virginia Department of Education. The event will air on public television stations throughout Virginia.

The event will recognize the achievements of the 2020 graduates with a special address from the Governor and First Lady; musical performances; a keynote speech from Virginia Beach native and U.S. Women’s National Soccer champion Angela Hucles Mangano; and words from other notable Virginians.

“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.”

He continued, “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.”

“We are excited to honor our next generation of leaders with something revolutionary,” said First Lady Northam. “Never before have we had all Virginia graduates celebrate together in one place and at the same time. This will be a special event, and we are honored to get to celebrate with you.”

“After a school year that has been like no other, our graduating class of 2020 deserves a true celebration of their hard work,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President of VPM. “We congratulate this year’s seniors and hope ‘Virginia Graduates Together’ allows friends and loved ones to share in the celebration of their wonderful accomplishments.”

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.

Virginians appearing in the program include:
Former Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer
University of Virginia’s men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett
Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox
Denver Nuggets guard Troy Daniels
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris
United States Senator Tim Kaine
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Micah Kiser
Musician Dave Matthews
Comedian Jay Pharoah
Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse
Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander
New York Liberty forward Megan Walker
United States Senator Mark Warner
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson
Actress Constance Wu
World Series Champion Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman

“Virginia Graduates Together” premieres on Blue Ridge PBSVPM, and WHRO, and will stream on Facebook Live and YouTube through WETA and East Tennessee PBS.

More information about the program can be found at VPM.org/grad.

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