In a surprise moment of levity on Sunday, the speaker at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduation was Jimmy Fallon. The Tonight Show host and comedian thanked the students for being leaders and offered advice to the Parkland, Florida, students for their coming, formative years.
In a snippet posted to Twitter, Fallon seemed to jokingly tell the graduating class that they won't keep in touch with everyone, but technology lets it seem that way. "You won't be classmates anymore. You'll be adults who Facebook search each other at 2 in the morning for the next 10 years," Fallon joked. "But more important than that, you'll be out in the real world."
As they move through young adulthood and take on massive tasks such as gun control, Fallon told the graduates it is important to not let anything stop them. "So before I go, I want to share some quick thoughts with you — not advice necessarily, but a few things I learned that helped me along the way," he said. "The first thing is when something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don't let anything stop you."
Fallon also thanked the students for their activism. "I met many of you earlier this year at the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. It was an amazing day," he said.
Fallon encouraged his viewers to attend the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. or the local events across the country back in March.
"Thank you for your courage and your bravery. And for giving amazing speeches I couldn't possibly live up to," Fallon continued, likely in reference to students David Hogg and Emily González. Graduating senior Hogg made headlines with his March For Our Lives speech at the event, which specifically called out the National Rifle Association and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. González's speech was memorable for the six minutes and 20 seconds of silence she took in remembrance of the shooting.
Fallon and his wife took their two daughters to the march, he recounted to the graduates and their families. They wanted their young daughters to see what "hope and light" looked like in the world, especially coming from young people.
Hogg and other graduating seniors brought their activism to the graduation stage, as well. Hogg wore an orange graduation cap with a $1.05 price tag attached, referencing the amount of money per Florida student that the National Rifle Association gave to Rubio. Hogg's price tag had a logo for March for Our Lives next to the sentences: "Politicians like Marco Rubio receive millions from the NRA. Don't put a price on us."
Fallon also posed with photos for four students after his speech. The students in the photo appeared to be sitting on the dais while he was delivering his speech.
The SNL alumnus and the students wore the silver and maroon MSD Strong memorial sashes donated for the ceremony. His appearance was not publicized prior the ceremony at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Despite Fallon's joyful speech and appearance, the ceremony also had bittersweet moments. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School awarded posthumous diplomas to the four seniors killed in February. Joaquin Oliver, Nicholas Dworet, Carmen Schentrup, and Meadow Pollack were expected to graduate at the Sunday ceremony, according to ABC News.
Some of the parents were on hand to collect their diplomas in their child's place. Pollack's parents attended the senior prom back in May. However, they told the Florida Sun-Sentinel they did not plan on attending graduation. Schentrup's parents chose not to attend, either, according to the newspaper.