Jimmy Fallon Surprises Grads in Parkland, Florida

The late night host told the shooting survivors 'don't let anything stop you'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
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People arrive for a graduation ceremony for Marjory Stoneman Douglas seniors Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Sunrise, Fla. The Class of 2018 will honor four members who were among those killed in February's gun massacre at the school in Parkland, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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(Newser) – The senior class from the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people in February received diplomas Sunday and heard from commencement speaker Jimmy Fallon, who urged graduates to move forward and "don't let anything stop you." Four families were to receive diplomas for loved ones who were slain in the attack that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control. Principal Ty Thompson underscored the honors to the dead students in a tweet. "Remember those not with us, and celebrate all the successes the Class of 2018 has brought to the community and the world!" Thompson tweeted. The "Tonight Show" host offered similar praise, saying, "You are not just the future—you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud." In a video of his commencement address, Fallon joked that the students soon "won't be classmates any more. You'll be adults who will Facebook search each other at 2 in the morning for the next 10 years."

Turning more serious, he said, "First thing is this: when something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don't let anything stop you." Per the AP, the private ceremony for the nearly 800 members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2018 was being held at the BB&T Center, where the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers play. It was moved to the arena to accommodate the expected large crowd. Reporters were not permitted inside the arena. Fourteen students and three staff members died in the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland. Former student Nikolas Cruz is charged with their deaths and the wounding of 17 other people. Attorneys for the 19-year-old have said he will plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.


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