Jimmy Fallon Delivered a Surprise Speech to Graduating Seniors in Parkland

On June 3, the seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School got a happy surprise when Jimmy Fallon showed up to make a commencement speech at their graduation.

Fallon has been outspoken about his support for gun control reform in the wake of tragic school shootings like the one that occurred at the Parkland, Florida, high school on February 14, in which 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured.

After the tragedy at their school, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland came together to advocate for gun control, and recently they announced a nationwide tour, “March for Our Lives: Road to Change,” to spread their message and register voters.

parkland activists photo
Getty Images | Don Juan Moore

In his surprise speech, Fallon praised the students for their bravery and dedication, telling the graduates, “You are not just the future; you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud.”

“The Tonight Show” host had more sage words of advice and insight for the graduating class throughout his address. Here are five of the most inspiring quotes from his speech.

1. “Choose To Move Forward.”

After a few opening jokes to lighten the mood, Fallon began his speech by offering some thoughts — not necessarily advice, but simply “a few things I’ve learned that helped me along the way.” His first thought was as follows: “When something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward, and don’t let anything stop you.”

2. “Every Bad Experience Can Have Something Good.”

Fallon relayed an anecdote about how bad he felt when he had to attend summer school as a student, but then he ended up relishing the experience because of the people he met there. Thus, he urged the graduates to make the most of every experience, even the negative ones.

“So my point is — a lot of you already know this — every bad experience can have something good that comes out of it,” he said. “You guys have already proved that to everyone. You took something horrific, and instead of letting it stop you, you started a movement — not just here in Florida, not just in America, but throughout the whole world.”

march four our lives photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

3. “Find What’s Good In People.”

Fallon stressed the importance of listening to other people and considering diverse perspectives. “There’s good in everyone, so find what’s good in people. If we listen to each other, we can find it.”

4. “Remember The Past, But Don’t Stay There.”

Toward the end of his speech, Fallon gave several pieces of advice, some of which were specific: “Put your phone down, and be silent for a minute or two.” And some more broad: “Be kind.”

Among these directives, Fallon urged the graduates to honor the past without getting stuck in it: “Remember the past, but don’t stay there.”

5. “Don’t Think About What You Want To Do, Think About Why You Want To Do It.”

Fallon acknowledged that while many young graduates may be focused on the future and where their lives will lead them, he encouraged them to consider the “why” instead of the “what” when finding their paths in life.

“We have no idea what the future holds, and that’s OK,” he said. “Don’t get too hung up on it. My advice to you is don’t think about what you want to do. Think about why you want to do it, and the rest will figure itself out.”

Watch his whole inspiring speech below:


Celebrities, Entertainment, Good News
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About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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