Parkland seniors Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollack and Carmen Schentrup were four of the 17 people killed on February 14 at the hands of Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter Nikolas Cruz. They were honored on Sunday alongside the class of 2018 during a high school graduation ceremony — one that reminded them of the sorrow the shooting left behind and the strength it took to persist onward.
“Today will be very emotional on many different levels,” Principal Thompson tweeted prior to the ceremony held at the BB&T Center. “Remember those not with us, and celebrate all the successes the Class of 2018 has brought to the community and the world! Congrats!”
Along with their caps and gowns, graduates wore sashes that read “MSD Strong,” reported the Miami Herald. And their commencement speaker was a famous face who has been widely supportive of the students’ efforts with March For Our Lives: Jimmy Fallon.
“Congratulations Marjory Stoneman Douglas Class of 2018! You are not just the future – you are the present,” Fallon tweeted Sunday. “Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud.”
Watch Jimmy Fallon’s high school graduation speech
Watch Fallon’s full high school graduation speech to Parkland survivors, their teachers and families below:
“When you think of commencement speakers,” Fallon began, “you think of people who are inspirational, people who are eloquent, people who change the world. When you think of high school students, you think of people who are a little immature, slightly awkward, still learning to be an adult. Welcome to opposite day.”
“When something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you,” he continued. “I met many of you earlier this year at March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. It was an amazing day. Thank you for your courage and your bravery, and for giving amazing speeches I could never possibly live up to. My wife and I brought our two little girls because we wanted them to see what hope and light looks like…”
“I can’t promise that life will be easy,” he said during the emotional high school graduation, “but if you make good choices and keep moving forward, I can promise that it will get better in ways you haven’t even thought of.”
“Keep making good choices,” Fallon urged the Parkland survivors. “I’m not saying it because you need to learn it. I’m saying it because you already taught it to all of us.”