BISMARCK — North Dakota's virtual high school graduation event on Saturday, May 30, will have some serious star power.
Gov. Doug Burgum and State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Friday, May 15, that the celebration of North Dakota's graduating high schoolers will feature Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz, North Dakota native and actor Josh Duhamel and the North Dakota-raised Nashville recording artists Tigirlily.
A news release said Wentz, a native of Bismarck and former star quarterback for the North Dakota State University Bison, will give the commencement address for the hourlong ceremony that begins at 2 p.m. Central time on May 30.
Duhamel, a native of Minot, and Tigirlily will deliver congratulatory messages, and Tigirlily, which consists of Hazen natives and sisters Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh, will also perform to close the celebration.
In addition, five students will participate in the ceremony, including Kourtney Bitz, a senior at Napoleon High School who will present the student address. During the event, a collage of class and school photos will be shown.
The graduation celebration will be broadcast on ABC affiliates in North Dakota and streamed on InForum.com and other Forum Communications Co. websites in the state, including The West Fargo Pioneer, The Jamestown Sun, The Dickinson Press and the Grand Forks Herald. The livestream will be free on those sites.
“We want to thank Carson Wentz, Josh Duhamel, and Tigirlily for agreeing to be part of this celebration, and we would also like to thank our media partners for carrying this statewide,” Gov. Burgum and Superintendent Baesler said in a joint statement.
While Baesler said this event is not meant to replace local high school graduations, she and Burgum said it could help seniors celebrate their accomplishments this spring
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many events that are dear to our seniors, including graduation ceremonies, prom, and athletic events. They have not been able to be with their classmates during their last days of high school,” they said. “We hope that this celebration will provide some memories for our seniors, their families, their friends, and their loved ones.”