California teen asks Obama to deliver virtual commencement address to the Class of 2020
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A graduating high school senior asked former President Obama to deliver a virtual commencement address for the Class of 2020 in lieu of canceled graduation ceremonies across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Hi @BarackObama! Like most high school/college seniors, I’m saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation. In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020,” the student tweeted Tuesday night.

The student, Lincoln Debenham, 17, told CNN that Obama is an icon for his generation and the 2020 graduating class. Debenham is a graduating senior from Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles. 

Within a day, Debenham’s message was retweeted nearly 26,000 times and had more than 121,000 likes. He asked others to share the tag #ObamaCommencement2020. 

Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, told CNN they were aware of the tweets and are “very flattered,” but declined to comment further. 

A spokesperson for Obama was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill. 

Debenham told CNN he issued his call for the president to speak to graduating seniors after Obama endorsed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again MORE for president on Tuesday. The teen said he and his older brother, Eli, came up with a tweet they felt conveyed the right message to call on Obama to give the virtual address. 


“We all at some point felt bad about feeling bad about” missing graduations, Debenham told CNN.

"People are dying, people are getting really sick, losing their jobs," he added. "I think a lot of us realized it's OK to feel bad as long as you don't minimize the struggles of others."

States across the country have shuttered schools and classes have shifted online — in some cases through the end of the school year — in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

There are more than 633,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30,826 deaths in the U.S. as of Wednesday evening, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.