Jimmy Fallon gives surprise commencement address at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduation


Jimmy Fallon brought some much-needed laughter when he gave the commencement address at the Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School graduation.

Yesterday Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School celebrated its 2018 graduation. It was a somber event, though, with the community remembering those 17 lives lost, including the four seniors who weren’t able to walk across that stage and get their diplomas. But thanks to a surprise visit from Jimmy Fallon, it was also filled with joy, laughter, and inspiration.

The graduation had to be a sad affair following the tragic shooting. In an emotional moment, family members got up and accepted diplomas for Meadow Pollack, Carmen Schentrup, Nicholas Dworet, and Joaquin Oliver, the four seniors who died in the shooting.

But this was a graduation after all. And a graduation is a cause for celebration. So Fallon gave the commencement speech at the Parkland, Florida, school, much to the students’ surprise. And he hit just the right balance between comedy and seriousness and brought some light and fun to the graduation. He told the students how proud they should be for graduating high school before launching right into a Yanny vs. Laurel joke.

“That doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels – or your yannys,” he said. “Some of you will grow up to hear yanny, some of you will grow up to hear laurel, but the most important thing for you to know is that neither of these things will matter by then end of the summer.”

He then joked about how now that they’re not high schoolers anymore, they’ll turn into adults who Facebook stalk each other.

But then Fallon got serious and addressed the tragedy that rocked their school this year and forced them to start a movement. He talked about how to get through hard times saying, “The first thing is this: When something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you.”

And that’s what the Parkland students have been doing ever since the Valentine’s Day shooting. They spoke out for gun control and started the Never Again movement and they didn’t let anything stop them. When they were told it wasn’t the time to talk about politics, they picked a date and created the huge March for Our Lives.

They’re still not stopping now that the school year is out. Some of the Parkland survivors have just announced the 75-stop Mach for Our Lives: Road to Change tour this summer, in order to increase voter turnout and educate people on the upcoming elections and gun control. The goal is to seat people who will be better on gun control and get rid of people who are influenced by the NRA. There will also be a separate Florida tour.

“At the end of the day, real change is brought by voting,” Cameron Kasky said at a recent press conference. “We are encouraging people around the country to educate themselves on their vote.”

Kasky added that they were “excited, optimistic, and thrilled for the future” and that “we can fix the political system” because whoever is in office will be put there by the people.

Next: Broadway stars are uniting for a From Broadway with Love benefit for Parkland survivors

“This feeling of what happened to our school, it doesn’t just go away after a few months,” Jaclyn Corin said. “We want to keep that feeling from being a part of many other communities.”