VIDEO: Jimmy Fallon Gives Surprise Commencement Speech to Parkland Students

"When you think of high school students you think of people who are a little immature, slightly awkward, still learning to be an adult. Welcome to opposite day."


In the past half year or so, few people have changed the greater public landscape more than the teen survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, known a little better as the Parkland students, led by David Hogg and Emma González.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had its graduation this past week, and it had a special guest drop in… in the form of Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Between the surprise, the celebrity and the excitement, people were absolutely shocked to see Fallon there. Fallon’s speech was a mix between the comprehension of the gravity of what the past few months have brought these students, what these students have brought to the world and the famous goofy affability that made him both loved and critiqued in equal measure. Here, he was loved.

Fallon began his speech talking about how humbling it was being around high schoolers such as them who have changed the world so completely, saying:

“When you think of commencement speakers you think of people who are inspirational, people who are eloquent, people who change the world. When you think of high school students you think of people who are a little immature, slightly awkward, still learning to be an adult. Welcome to opposite day.”

Fallon continued, talking about the inspiration that the students have brought to the country, and even the world, showing that there is a way out, and how he used the students as an influence on his daughters, saying:

“The first thing is this: when something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you. I met many of you earlier this year at the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. and it was an amazing day. Thank you for your courage and your bravery and for giving amazing speeches that I could never possibly live up to.

My wife and I brought our two little girls because we wanted them to see what hope and light looks like, and as we were standing there watching you guys in awe, I was lucky enough to stand with a lot of your teachers. And let me tell you something, your teachers are so proud of you. Really. They were like, “I taught him! I taught her! I taught them history! And now, you’re making history”. It’s pretty cool.”

Fallon ended the speech by saying that these students are not simply the future… they’re something more important. They’re the present. Fallon concluded his speech, saying:

“Most commencement speakers, they’ll get up here and talk in future-tense — you will succeed, you will make us proud, you will change the world. Most commencement speakers, they say, “you are the future.” But I’m not going to say that because you’re not the future. You’re the present. You are succeeding, you are making us proud, you are changing the world. So keep changing the world and keep making us proud.”

Wonderful. What did you think of Jimmy Fallon’s speech? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to follow us on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.