Public TV stations to honor grads with 'Virginia Graduates Together'

Graduates at Blue Ridge Community College in 2018,
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — With high school and college seniors not getting the graduation ceremonies they expected this year, next Friday, public television stations across Virginia will broadcast a special ceremony specifically for graduating Virginians.

The special is being called “Virginia Graduates Together,” and will broadcast and stream statewide at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

It will be produced by Virginia Public Media (VPM) in partnership with the Office of Governor and the Virginia Department of Education as a salute to 2020 graduates, with a special address from Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam, musical performances, a keynote speech from United States Women’s National Soccer champion Angela Hucles Mangano and well-wishes from "notable Virginians."

“After a school year that has been like no other, the class of 2020 deserves a true celebration of its hard work. We congratulate this year’s seniors and hope ‘Virginia Graduates Together’ allows friends and loved ones the chance to commemorate this important moment,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President of VPM.

Mangano, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is a native of Virginia Beach and graduate of the University of Virginia. The 4-time All-ACC soccer player and member of two USA women's World Cup soccer teams is also a businesswoman and is known as an advocate for gender diversity, equity and inclusion.

Also scheduled to appear to celebrate graduates are former Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, UVa. men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, Senator Tim Kaine, Dave Matthews, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, Senator Mark Warner, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and actress Constance Wu, among others to be announced later.

Students, families and teachers can be included in the celebration by sharing cap and gown photos, well-wishes, videos and more at vpm.org/grad, as announced by Governor Northam in his Friday COVID-19 briefing.

Participants can also use the hashtag #GraduateTogetherVA to share their graduation celebrations on social media.

"Virginia Graduates Together" premieres at 5 p.m. on May 29 on Blue Ridge PBS, VPM PBS and WHRO, and will stream on Facebook Live and YouTube through those stations and WETA.