Dolly Parton is offering some of her trademark wisdom to the Class of 2020, sharing a few words during the virtual commencement for graduating seniors in Sevier County, Tennessee. Parton appeared in a pre-taped video message that aired at the end of each Sevier County high school's celebration video. After offering her congratulations, Parton told graduates that while their senior years may have looked different than they imagined, they definitely will not be forgotten.
"Congratulations to all the graduates in Sevier County," she said. "I know you've missed out on a lot of fun activities this year that everybody looks forward to, but this is going to be a year you'll never forget. Something to tell your grandkids about." The country icon also used her incredible success as inspiration for her listeners, encouraging them to go out and chase their dreams. "I just wanted to wish you the best in life going out there in the big world and just know that dreams do come true," Parton said. "Hopefully, I'm a good example of that, so you get out there and make your dreams come true."
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Parton was born in a small town in Sevier County and grew up poor before moving to Nashville following her high school graduation, where she eventually became one of country music's biggest icons. The 74-year-old has been a beacon of light to fans amid the coronavirus pandemic, sharing many inspirational messages. She also released a song about the light at the end of the tunnel, "When Life Is Good Again," which finds the singer listing all the things she'll do and the ways she'll be different when the pandemic has passed.
"I really try to write what I think everybody is going through right now," Parton told TIME. "I try to create things that I think people would like to be able to express, because I've always been grateful that I'm a writer." The Tennessee native added that she hopes the song will inspire people to think about what really matters and how they can do better and be better, like she has. "I think we have to pull together a little better," she said. "I just think we're just getting so scattered and so selfish, and we're just letting too many good things go by."