Alora Young, a senior from Nashville and a finalist to become the Youth Poet Laureate, shared her poem dedicated to the class of 2021, “Our First Exodus.”
“There is a distinct difference between being taught and learning. Education seems to me more than a right — it’s a necessity, creates creatives that lead us through the fight, running restlessly into tomorrow,” she read.
Watch her deliver her full poem:
Actor Matthew McConaughey offered a few pieces of advice in his message to the class of 2021.
“Life’s worth living, and now you’ve just made a big step to just doing that,” McConaughey said in his remarks.
He reminded graduates to invest in themselves and their own futures. He also encouraged graduates to take time to figure out who they are by finding out what they’re not.
“Get rid of those friends, those places and those habits that you may have that do not keep paying you back, alright. Get rid of those. Eliminate those and all of sudden you find that in front of you, you’ve got more things in front of you that feed who you are. That do feed that primary investment. You,” he said.
McConaughey ended by letting the class of 2021 know that “Life’s scary. It’s ok to be scared. Just don’t be afraid.”
Kim Kardashian West has something in common with the class of 2021: She, too, has been studying in the middle of the global pandemic.
Kardashian West, who began studying law two years ago in hopes of taking the California bar exam in 2022, said her studies have reminded her of the value of education.
“It’s been really challenging, but I feel you guys, and it’s reminded me how important education is,” Kardashian West said.
She urged new graduates to “stay focused in whatever you choose to do in life,” and noted that the pandemic has taught us that “happiness, and health and choosing to do what you really love to do is probably the most important thing.”
Watch the moment:
“Graduation 2021: A CNN Special Event,” CNN’s special honoring the class of 2021 is underway.
Vice President Kamala Harris is the keynote speaker of tonight’s event, which will also feature musical performances by Portugal, The Man, Andy Grammer, Lukas Grahm and EARCANDY.
The class of 2021 faced a year shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, and many schools are holding virtual ceremonies for a second year in a row.
CNN will air “Graduation 2021: A CNN Special Event” at 7 p.m. ET tonight.
The special event honoring the class of 2021 will feature musical performances from artists including…
- Portugal. The Man
- Andy Grammer
- Lukas Graham
Students from the Duke Ellington School of Arts in Washington, DC, and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City will also perform.
CNN’s graduation special will begin at 7 p.m. ET. “Graduation 2021: A CNN Special Event” will stream live, requiring a cable login, on CNN.com’s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android.
It can also be viewed on CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone and tablet, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV).
The special will also be available on demand to subscribers via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps.
“Graduation 2021: A CNN Special Event,” CNN’s special honoring the class of 2021, kicks off at 7 p.m. ET tonight.
The special will feature a keynote address from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris has a personal connection to the class of 2021: Last week, she posted that her stepdaughter, Ella, graduated.
“I am so proud of you,” Harris wrote on Instagram.