High School Senior's Request for Barack Obama to Give National Commencement Speech to Class of 2020 Goes Viral

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen one high school student reach out to Barack Obama, asking the former U.S. president to offer his "comfort" in this "unprecedented time" by delivering the commencement speech at his graduation this year.

Twitter user @lincolnjackd posted a message tagging Obama's official Twitter account saying: "Like most high school/college seniors, I'm saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation. In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020."

"Whether he does or not, it isn't about that. It's about someone who speaks for my generation. Like Barack Obama was the first President I can remember. The classroom mock elections, watching his inauguration in school. That's what this is about. Hearing that voice of hope again," @lincolnjackd added.

The touching post has since received at least 20,000 "likes" and has been retweeted nearly 3,400 times. Several other users offered their support, pleading with Obama to agree to the request, with some sharing messages using the #Obamacommencement2020.

"That is a brilliant idea ! In a complete absence of leadership, his voice and wisdom can inspire our future generation of leaders. His would be one of the most reassuring voices in a time that desperately calls for a steady hand at the wheel. #Obamacommencement2020," wrote @abhi23391.

"YESSS!!! Obama gave the commencement address at my Northwestern graduation ceremony, and he was of course FANTASTIC. He should absolutely do this for the classes of 2020," wrote @theRati.

"Oh please say yes to this brilliant idea! Please bring hope to millions of seniors," wrote @Anatya77.

"Brilliant idea! Not only would it be inspiring to the graduates, think about how it could soothe the soul of America, even if it is just for a little bit. We need 'Obama Balm' for our souls right now," wrote @Dhenmar1.

Barack Obama, Virgina, Hampton University graduation, 2010
Barack Obama delivers the commencement address at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, May 9, 2010. Getty Images

It is unknown whether Obama has responded to the latest request. Newsweek has contacted @lincolnjackd for a comment.

While Obama has rarely commented on the pandemic, last week he warned leaders about spreading misinformation during the outbreak at a virtual event for the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative program.

"Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion. Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through. The biggest mistake any [of] us can make in these situations is to misinform, particularly when we're requiring people to make sacrifices and take actions that might not be their natural inclination," he said.

Last Wednesday, he also wrote in a post on his official Twitter account: "Social distancing bends the curve and relieves some pressure on our heroic medical professionals. But in order to shift off current policies, the key will be a robust system of testing and monitoring – something we have yet to put in place nationwide."

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S.
The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. STATISTA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
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  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

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  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
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  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
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  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
High School Senior's Request for Barack Obama to Give National Commencement Speech to Class of 2020 Goes Viral | News