Welcome to #ChiGradWeek 2020!
From June 8 to 14, WBEZ is celebrating graduates from across the Chicago area and every step of the educational ladder.
The week includes a daily mix of stories on 91.5 FM and WBEZ.org, a community sing-along dedicated to the class of 2020 and grad shoutouts on Instagram. The week will conclude with a live streaming of the city of Chicago’s virtual graduation on June 14.
Join us as we give the class of 2020 the celebration they deserve.
June and July — Grad Grams
As the school year marches to a close, people are searching for creative ways to mark this important milestone for the class of 2020. To help, WBEZ designed free, customizable graduation cards — we’re calling them “Grad Grams” — and took submissions from our listeners and readers. Submissions closed on June 7, 2020, but you can check out WBEZ’s @chigradgrams account on Instagram to see how families are celebrating their graduates.
To share the Grad Gram messages with a broader audience, we're playing audio versions every day during #ChiGradWeek on WBEZ's Reset with Jenn White.
June 8 — First Graduates
What does it mean to be the first in your family to graduate college? We profile local graduates who did just that — and hear how finishing college is changing the lives of these pioneering grads. Read and listen here.
June 9, 10, 11 — Unforgettable
What’s the magic behind an adult who makes an indelible mark on a young person’s life? Over three days, we hear from local students in conversation with an adult that has changed their lives forever. Listen to the stories here.
June 12 — We The Graduates
Forget the traditional graduation speech. We’ve all heard it before. Instead, we bring you “We The Graduates,” 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. Read and listen here.
June 12 — Class Of 2020 Sing-along
Our celebration of the class of 2020 continues … with a sing-along and dance party! From 9 p.m. to midnight, Vocalo Radio takes over 91.5 FM with a communal sing-along 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. Learn more about the event here.
June 14 — Livestream Of Virtual 2020 Graduation
From 1 to 2 p.m., WBEZ.org will livestream Chicago’s virtual graduation ceremony. It will be emceed by Chicago Hamilton star Miguel Cervantes. Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement speech, The Voice’s Katie Kadan will sing the national anthem, and students will perform throughout. Portions of the ceremony will also air on 91.5 FM.
Editor's note: After WBEZ began planning this programming for our local graduates, protests and unrest erupted over the killing of George Floyd and a history of racism. With that as a backdrop, WBEZ weighed whether to carry on with plans to celebrate our local grads. We opted to move ahead with #ChiGradWeek, alongside extensive coverage of ongoing demonstrations and reform efforts, as a way to elevate the voices of Chicago area grads, all they have accomplished and what they have to say during this important moment in history.