The Tonight Show host spoke before the 784 graduates at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The families of Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollack and Carmen Schentrup, who died during the Feb. 14 shooting, also received diplomas.
Fallon's speech included several jokes, as well as an inspirational message, reports Deadline. He also praised their resilience after the tragedy.
"Some of you will grow up to hear yanny, some of you will grow up to hear laurel, but the most important thing for you to know is that neither of these things will matter by the end of the summer," Fallon told the students, reports CNN. "Here's what will matter: you, the class of 2018, will have graduated. And you won't be classmates anymore. You'll be adults who Facebook search each other at two in the morning for the next 10 years."
“When something feels hard; remember that it gets better,” he said. “Choose to move forward. Don’t let anything stop you.”
Congratulations Marjory Stoneman Douglas Class of 2018! You are not just the future - you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud. #MSDStrong #YouAreThePresent pic.twitter.com/czvZwezKSt— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) June 3, 2018
Fallon later tweeted a clip of his speech, adding, "Congratulations Marjory Stoneman Douglas Class of 2018! You are not just the future - you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud."
On Feb. 14, a student opened fire at the school, killing 14 students and three teachers, and wounding 17 others. The shooter later confessed and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. The shooting sparked another national debate on gun control, and student activists organized the March for Our Lives in March.
The graduation on Sunday was a bittersweet event, with tributes to those who lost their lives at the shooting. According to CNN, students sang "Shine," a song they wrote after the shooting. One teacher told CNN that senior class president Julia Cordover told her colleagues to vote to make changes.
Some students, including David Hogg, painted the top of their caps orange and included a price tag reading "$1.05." The number refers to how much Florida students are worth to Sen. Marco Rubio, based on the money he receives from the National Rifle Association.0comments
“You took something horrific — instead of letting it stop you, you started a movement,” Fallon said, reports the Sun Sentinel. “The whole world has heard your voice and that was you making a choice … That was you choosing hope over fear.”
Photo credit: Twitter/ BCPSChiefOSPA