Jimmy Fallon Surprised Parkland Seniors At Their Graduation And It Was Heartwarming

“The whole world has heard your voice and that was you making a choice... That was you choosing hope over fear.”

On Sunday afternoon, the 2018 class of Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School donned bright burgundy caps and gowns and filled a massive stadium for an emotional graduation ceremony.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. seniors celebrated their success and accomplishments at graduation today, but they also remembered 4 of their classmates who did not get to walk the stage. #MSDStrong https://t.co/jvxJneqXQk

Four seniors, however, were missing: Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Carmen Schentrup, and Meadow Pollack. They, along with the 14 others who died in the massacre at the high school, were honored and commemorated during the ceremony.

Today won’t be the same without you

Their chairs sat empty while their family members accepted their red diplomas.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. has awarded posthumous degrees to the 4 seniors who died in the Valentine’s Day massacre. Parents or family friends accepted the diplomas on the victims’ behalf. https://t.co/II7lBBsS05

Today, Is the day my sister has been waiting for. Graduation where she would’ve been getting her diploma and be on her way to attend college. This is a sad day, as I will be walking stage to get her diploma for her.

At my Godson’s graduation Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Just had to share this pic of the Mom of Joaquin Oliver, who is supposed to be accepting his diploma himself. https://t.co/dFGb7Z9Pfp

But the somber ceremony had a surprise twist: Comedian Jimmy Fallon surprised the new graduates and their families as their commencement speaker and delivered an uplifting, touching speech that praised the students' resilience and activism in the face of pain and heartbreak.

Look who came to honor the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS Class of 2018!!! @jimmyfallon @FallonTonight @browardschools @PrincipalMSD #MSDSTRONG #NeverAgain https://t.co/okEm59JVlN

The crowd cheered and clapped as Fallon took the stage. "He was so funny, literally everyone went from crying to laughing," one attendee wrote.

Jimmy Fallon at the Stoneman Douglas graduations ! He was so funny literally everyone went from crying to laughing. His speech was everything. #Classof2018 #MSDStrong congrats Little sister!!! https://t.co/OAV64qtd0W

"Today you're graduating from high school," the Tonight Show host told the graduates, doling out poignant reflections, mixed with humor, telling the seniors that they should feel incredibly proud of themselves, but "that doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels — or your yannys."

Special guest for @msdclassof2018... @jimmyfallon Congratulations graduates!

"Some of you will grow up to hear yanny, some of you will grow up to hear laurel, but the most important thing for you to know is that neither of these things will matter by the end of the summer," he went on as the room laughed.

"Here's what will matter: You, the class of 2018, will have graduated. And you won't be classmates anymore. You'll be adults who Facebook search each other at 2 in the morning for the next 10 years."


Fallon has been an avid and vocal supporter of the Never Again movement, founded and led by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, and has praised the student activists on his show. He also participated in the March for our Lives event in Washington, DC, a few months ago and helped students from other states attend.

Today is @AMarch4OurLives. I’m partnering with @MTV and @NAACP to sponsor a bus full of smart young young people traveling from NYC to #MarchForOurLives Washington, D.C. today. Thank you for standing up and saying you’ve had #ENOUGH. See you there.

On Sunday, he thanked them for their courage and bravery and encouraged them to keep fighting and stand strong in their convictions as they go on to college and life outside of high school.

Jimmy Fallon gave the commencement speech for Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS today... awesome!

"Every bad experience can have something good come out of it. Sometimes things that seem like setbacks can take our lives in directions that we don't expect and they make us better and stronger. You guys have already proved that to everyone. You took something horrific — instead of letting it stop you, you started a movement,” Fallon said. “The whole world has heard your voice and that was you making a choice... That was you choosing hope over fear.”

He encouraged them to make "good choices and keep moving forward," noting that while life might not get easier, it gets better.

"We have no idea what the future holds and that's OK... Don't think about what you want to do," Fallon said. "Think about why you want to do it, and the rest will figure itself out."

He shared with the crowd pieces of advice he would like to tell his younger self, a key one being to "lay off the carbs," before taking a more reflective tone.

"Listen to everyone around you," he advised, and celebrate diversity. There is good in everyone, he said, "if you listen to each other we can find it."

"Work hard for everything. Put one foot in front of the other and keep going, day by day, moment by moment. You always have the chance to be building something, working on something, pushing something up the hill," he continued. "It's not easy, but you have to keep trying, keep failing, have goals and pushing them ahead every day."

His last piece of advice, though, was arguably the most important: "Don't ever get off your parents' wireless plan. Ride that train as long as possible..."

According to #StonemanDouglas teacher @MrLevineMachine, @jimmyfallon “was great comic relief mixed with a serious, hopeful message” https://t.co/L1s6FqRxKo

Fallon concluded his remarks by thanking the brave students for "showing me and the rest of the world that there is hope... You are the present," he emphasized as the room cheered. "Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud."

Congratulations Marjory Stoneman Douglas Class of 2018! You are not just the future - you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud. #MSDStrong #YouAreThePresent https://t.co/czvZwezKSt

You can watch his entire address here ❤️:

Facebook: video.php