Malcolm Jenkins to Philly Class of 2020 graduates: 'You get to decide the life you want to have'

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia's Class of 2020 has officially graduated!

The virtual graduation was broadcast on the School District of Philadelphia's site at 11 a.m.

Attention Graduates, Family, & Friends: Send in your Class of 2020 videos to!

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, who participated in peaceful protests in Philadelphia and has been out front in calls for social justice, addressed the city's graduating class as the keynote speaker during the virtual ceremony.

"Taking the easy way out is a choice. But I hope you hear me loud and clear, you will decide your future. You are valued. I know some of you are scared. This is an unprecedented time in our society with the pandemic and all the rituals you were looking forward to being taken away like getting together today for this ceremony. But I want you to know that the world is ever-changing, both good and bad. And you get to decide the life you want to have and the difference you can make in our community," Jenkins said.
Eagles hall of famer Brian Dawkins also shared a few thoughts, as did Black Thought from The Roots, who is a product of Philadelphia public schools.

But the real stars are the members of this class. Several of whom honored their fellow classmates with speeches, music, even a little poetry.

RELATED: Malcolm Jenkins writes to Philly: 'Can we still be friends?'
The school district asked Philadelphia to stand up and make some noise for the graduates at 1 p.m.

Philly residents were invited to make 20 seconds of noise for the Class of 2020: "Applaud, play music, sing, whistle, honk a horn or even do that unique Philadelphia custom of banging a pot!"

Michael Wood says he would've rather had a real graduation but, he admits, the virtual graduation wasn't half-bad.

"I got to see my friends for the last time which I was very grateful for. All around it was actually a lot more, it was a better day than I thought it was going to be," said Wood.

The first of many better days being the wish of Superintendent Dr. William Hite who said, "Your class has handled this time of uncertainty, unrest, all of it out of your control, with such poise, grace, resilience, that makes me proud and honored to be your superintendent."

Congratulations from all of us here at Action News!
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