The former president's address will highlight the graduating class's accomplishments and include a reflection about the events of the past several months, which have upended graduation classes across the country and the world, according to the televised event's organizers. Obama will be joined by high school students who work with the Obama Foundation, including Chicago Public Schools seniors and members of the Obama Youth Jobs Corps.
"I've always loved joining commencements--the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can't get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones," Obama wrote in an Instagram post announcing his involvement with the televised special and several other graduation events.
Graduating is a big achievement no matter what, but with all that the Class of 2020 has dealt with to get across the finish line, I think they’ve earned a little celebration. I hope you’ll all join me in honoring them at 2PM ET and 8PM ET. pic.twitter.com/dBK5nll7w8— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 16, 2020
"This high school graduation season will be anything but ordinary, but that's all the more reason why the Class of 2020 deserves extraordinary advice, heartfelt encouragement and hard-won wisdom about facing new challenges in an uncertain world," said Russlynn Ali, the CEO and co-founder of XQ Institute, one of the organizations putting on the special. "We are grateful to President Obama for giving this gift to our nation's three million high school seniors as they #GraduateTogether."
The LeBron James Family Foundation, XQ Institute and The Entertainment Industry Foundation in April announced that the one-hour special, "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020," will air simultaneously across various television networks and digital platforms on May 16 at 8 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CT. The event will pay tribute to high schoolers graduating this year and will include appearances by James, Pharrell Williams, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Bad Bunny, Yara Shahidi, Ben Platt, Lena Waithe and H.E.R.
"Graduate Together" was curated by high school students, educators and the American Federation of Teachers. It will feature commencement speeches, performances and more. It will also air on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Complex Networks, PeopleTV and other digital platforms.
Other participants in the event include Megan Rapinoe, YBN Cordae, Chika, Charli D'Amelio, Dixie D'Amelio, Loren Gray, Brandan "Bmike" Odums, Henry Platt and Jonah Platt.
Watch "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" May 16 at 8|7 c on ABC.
VIDEO: Obama delivers the Rutgers University commencement address in 2016
The Associated Press contributed to this report.