It’s pretty clear that most American high school seniors will not have traditional graduations this year.
Caps and gowns, speeches, photos, the parties afterward — all will fall victim to COVID-19.
Searching for something to salvage, a senior named Lincoln thought: Why not ask Barack Obama to deliver a “national commencement address”?
On Tuesday he tweeted the former president. He added the hashtag #ObamaCommencement2020.
Then he watched his idea take off. As of last night, over 207,000 people had liked Lincoln’s tweet. It was retweeted over 41,000 times.
What makes this “06880”-worthy is that the student — Lincoln Debenham — is a former Westporter.
He lives now in Los Angeles, where he will graduate — with or without Obama — from Eagle Rock High School. But he’s got deep roots here.
He grew up here. He started at Staples High, before moving. Like his older brother Eli, he follows politics avidly.
(“06880” profiled Eli in 2016, when he helped run the phone banks for the Westport Democratic Town Committee. The next year, the entire Debenham family was featured, hosting their traditional Thanksgiving dinner for dozens of random people.)
But now Lincoln has snagged the national spotlight alone.
His message to Obama said: “Like most high school/college seniors, I’m saddened by the loss of milestone events, proms & graduation. In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice.
“We ask you to consider giving a national commencement speech to the class of 2020.”
The former president has not yet responded, though he was reported to be aware of the request. And flattered.
Meanwhile, national media picked up the story.
Lincoln told CNN that Obama is “someone who speaks for my generation. that’s what this is about. Hearing that voice of hope again.”
Like Lincoln Debenham, we’ve got our fingers crossed.