CHICAGO (June 8, 2020) — As an extraordinary school year comes to an end for students amid COVID-19 and protests over police brutality, WBEZ Chicago is announcing #ChiGradWeek June 8-12, a weeklong celebration with programming and profiles about area graduates, a community commencement speech, and capping off with a community singalong across the city and region
“The onset of the coronavirus pandemic was sudden and significant to people of all ages. And now, protesters across the country are demanding changes in American policing,” said Kate Grossman, senior education editor of WBEZ.
“Against this backdrop, students across the Chicago area are still marking important milestones this month. Through a series of WBEZ features and activities for graduates, their families and our community at large, we hope to provide a bright spot amid a time of public health concerns and now, protest and civil unrest, by shining a light on the Class of 2020 and the future they have ahead of them,” she said.
To follow is the rundown of WBEZ’s programming for #ChiGradWeek. WBEZ listeners can take part in #ChiGradWeek through a mix of audio and digital features on 91.5FM and wbez.org, as well as on social media, including:
June 8: First Graduates What does it mean to be the first in your family to graduate college? WBEZ will profile local graduates who did just that — and hear how finishing college is changing the lives of these pioneering grads. This story will air in Morning Edition on 91.5 FM and be published on WBEZ.org.
June 9-11: Unforgettable What’s the magic behind an adult who makes an indelible mark on a young person’s life? Over three days, WBEZ will hear from local students in conversation with an adult that has changed their lives. These stories will air in Morning Edition on 91.5 FM and be published on WBEZ.org.
June 12: We the Graduates is a community commencement speech written and voiced line-by-line by high school grads from across the Chicago area. The speech will air in Morning Edition on 91.5 FM and be published on WBEZ.org.
June 12: Class of 2020 singalong WBEZ is spearheading a community singalong and social distanced dance party, which the public can join from their homes at the end of #ChiGradWeek. From 9:00 p.m. to midnight, Vocalo Radio takes over 91.5 FM with a communal singalong and light show – in partnership with Chicago Unite at Night – followed by a simulcast of their Friday Night DJ Series. The entire evening is dedicated to the class of 2020. Members of the public can visit www.wbez.org/chigradweek for more information.
Grad Grams: WBEZ also is producing Instagram “cards” for people who want to celebrate the 2020 grad in their lives. Each one will feature artwork from talented 2020 seniors from Chicago high schools. WBEZ will assemble and post the graduation card to Instagram, tagging the graduate via their Instagram handle.
#ChiGradWeek activities lead up to the first-ever citywide virtual graduation for Chicago high school seniors, on June 14, that will feature commencement speaker Oprah Winfrey and emcee Miguel Cervantes. WBEZ will live stream the “Grad 2020: For Chicago By Chicago” ceremony at 1 p.m. on June 14 and broadcast portions of the ceremony.
About WBEZ Chicago
WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ’s award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. In addition to its local and national news programming, WBEZ Chicago is home to a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the “Making” series of Making Beyoncé, Making Obama and Making Oprah; an investigative podcast series, Motive; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Curious City. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.