Recently retired NBA star Dwyane Wade surprised the 2019 graduating class of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by giving a commencement speech at their graduation ceremony.
“Today, you will close a chapter in your lives and embark on new experiences and journeys and memories. And it’s a time to celebrate and be proud of everything you’ve done to make it to this moment,” he started.
The 37-year-old former Miami Heat guard has been active in the Parkland, Florida community ever since 17 students and teachers were killed by a gunman in February of 2018. In fact, he surprised students the day regular classes resumed following the shooting, and spoke of his first visit to the school during Sunday’s speech.
“I immediately started getting butterflies in my stomach,” Wade said. “I remember being so nervous to see and meet everybody. What would I say? I mean, I grew up in the inner city of Chicago, and I’ve experienced a lot of awful things. But I’ve never experienced anything to the magnitude that you guys had just experienced. I remember walking in and meeting the staff and actually being surprised that everyone was excited to see me.
” … I realized that at that moment, we all had a responsibility. A responsibility to be seen, to be heard, to stand up and stand tall, for the ones that no longer had a voice.”
@DwyaneWade @DouglasHigh keeping us #msdstrong thanks Dwyane pic.twitter.com/WVi3ZHekca
— Safeer Bhatti, Ph.D. (@drsafeerbhatti) June 2, 2019
Wade’s support of the high school also made headlines when he wrote Joaquin Oliver’s name on his game shoes and dedicated the rest of the 2018 season to the 17-year-old victim, who was buried in a Wade jersey.
Wade concluded his commencement speech by reciting a cheer he used during the Heat’s 2013 season in which they won the NBA Finals:
“To the last man, to the last minute, to the last second, we fight! We fight! We fight!” Then he added, “MSD Strong.”