The 17-year-old California high school senior, who went viral for his request to Barack Obama to deliver a virtual “national commencement speech” for the graduating class of 2020, says that the former president is an “icon” to people his age.
What We Know:
- Lincoln Debenham stated that his original tweet was about lifting up his senior class that’s seen graduation ceremonies, senior proms and all their other school-related activities go out the window in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has forced people to socially distance.
- “They got to vote for Barack Obama in mock elections when they were little kids and they got to watch Barack Obama become the first black president and get sworn in while they were in school,” Debenham told CNN.
- “I remember watching that in the classroom and feeling kind of amazed at such a young age and feel like I was a part of history,” Debenham said.
- The high school student’s Twitter request quickly went viral, with numerous others chiming in on Twitter (including celebs like Rosie O’Donnell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
- An Obama source stated that they were flattered but didn’t yet have any response.
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.
— Lincoln (@lincolnjackd) April 15, 2020
- “I can’t express enough how much I miss school and everybody there,” Debenham tweeted at his high school. The hashtag #ObamaCommencement2020 began trending shortly after Debenham’s tweet on Tuesday night.
- Parents on Twitter were particularly excited about their children getting a memorable graduation. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose son Charlie Hall graduated from Northwestern University last year, also joined in the call: “Do it, please, Mr President!,” the Veep star tweeted.
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) April 16, 2020
“Wether he does or not, it isn’t about that,” Debenham tweeted in a follow-up message. “It’s about someone who speaks for my generation. Like Barack Obama was the first President I can remember. The classroom mock elections, watching his inauguration in school. That’s what this is about. Hearing that voice of hope again.”