Chicago to host 1st-ever citywide virtual high school graduation with celebrity speaker

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago high school graduates might be missing out on a traditional commencement this spring, but they'll be getting a send-off that no other seniors in the city have received before.

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot took to TikTok to announce that Chicago will hold its first-ever virtual graduation in mid-June. Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement address.

"We are thrilled and honored to have the one-and-only Oprah Winfrey joining us for this incredible moment with Chicago's high school seniors," said Mayor Lightfoot. "The times we are living in are historic and stunning, forcing us all to take a deep look at who we are as a people and our place in the world. No one knows this better than Oprah, and I join all of Chicago in looking forward to hearing the wisdom she'll be sharing with our incredible young people as they take this unforgettable next step on their life's journey."

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The commencement ceremony will celebrate every high school senior in Chicago, from those attending Chicago Public Schools and charter schools to Catholic and private schools across the city.

"The meaning of graduation is more profound than a physical stage and nothing can detract from the beaming pride of a Chicago Public Schools parent when their student earns a diploma," said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. "We know we can't fully replace the special milestones lost during this unprecedented crisis, but our seniors deserve to be celebrated for their hard work and we look forward to coming together to honor our seniors during this special occasion."

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The date of the virtual commencement ceremony will be released in a few weeks, according to the mayor's office.

A group of representatives from a variety of Chicago schools are currently working out details for the event.

The city is hosting the event in partnership with Citadel, the mayor''s office said.
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