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As the novel coronavirus pandemic prevents graduating students from donning their cap and gowns and taking part in a prestigious ceremony, Ryan Reynolds is doing his part to make sure the class of 2020 is still celebrated.
The actor posted a commencement speech for Kitsilano Secondary School’s class of 2020 — Reynolds is an alumni of the Vancouver-area school — on his YouTube channel, where he shared inspiring words to students and described the school as “the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“To this day I’m still friends with so many people I graduated with. So that says something. I’m probably not going to drop any mics here … but I can pass on this little chestnut of wisdom,” he said.
Reynolds then encouraged students to “practice some form of compassion everyday” and empathy.
“Some of you may consider me successful. I don’t know, some of you may have seen Green Lantern,” he quipped, before adding, “but I’ll tell you this — empathy has gotten me so much farther in not only in my life but in my career.” Reynolds assured that having empathy is “just about the most radical act of ambition that you can ever demonstrate.”
“To my surprise, [empathy] has made me money, friends, priceless memories. It’s allowed me to fully accept and provide love. It’s helped me recognize the mistakes I’ve made and learn from them. And above all, it made me happy. And it’s something I’ll probably be working on my whole life,” he added.
Though hoping to inspire students, Reynolds mentioned that he was aware students could be expecting something different from him. “I know that as soon as you saw me you were expecting dick jokes,” he kidded. “I’m going to save those, though for your university commencement speech, where you’ll need them. Not that you have to go to a university — God knows I didn’t.”
As the video ended with a congratulations to the graduating class, Reynolds mentioned that he missed his favorite local pizza shop, Nat’s Pizzeria. Because of that, the actor shared that “every grad gets one large pizza on me.” “Good luck, everybody,” the video concluded.
Watch Reynolds full speech, below.
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