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Jethro Jones Announces Launch of New Tool to Connect High Schools with Virtual Commencement Speakers

With schools missing out on commencement ceremonies this spring, Jones, host of the Transformative Principal Podcast, has launched GuestCommencementSpeeches.com to connect qualified speakers from any industry with schools in need

Fairbanks, Alaska―With COVID-19 shutting down schools this spring, many thousands of 2020 high school seniors across the U.S. will not have the graduation ceremony they were expecting. In response to this reality, Jethro Jones, host of the Transformative Principal Podcast, has launched a new initiative to deliver these graduates the recognition they’ve earned. Jones today announced his new service, Guest Commencement Speeches, a tool to help schools connect with guest speakers from any industry. 

“As I was planning my own students’ graduation, I thought it would be great to get some insight from someone who could really give my students hope,” said Jones, who is the principal of Fairbanks BEST homeschool program in Alaska when he’s not coaching principals and hosting his podcast. 

Signing up is simple for both schools and prospective speakers. In just a few short minutes, a school in search of a guest speaker, or a professional interested in sharing their talents with the class of 2020, can fill out an interest form online. Then Jones and his team will match them to one another. Speeches are less than five minutes, so the goal is to deliver concise, inspirational messages. 

“One really neat opportunity that we’ve seen is that chemist Amy Jacques-Jones, who is working on a treatment for coronavirus (remdesivir), will actually be giving a speech to the students graduating from the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in New York,” Jones says. “So the woman who is working on producing a treatment for the virus that is preventing their graduation, is going to speak to them of hope and perseverance!”

Because all the messages are pre-recorded, speakers won’t have to travel to sites and may even be able to support multiple schools. 

Jones added: “Principals and teachers have been getting accolades on social media over the past few weeks because people see how important their jobs are, with everyone working and schooling from home. Now is an opportunity for those people to give to the students who seemed to have lost so much!” 

Guest Commencement Speeches is an opportunity to give back to the community and make connections that schools may not. Speaker Dr. Daryl Crosby, part of the soft launch of the service, posted on Twitter, “Found out today I was selected to be the virtual guest speaker for the C/O 2020 graduation of Kaua’i HS in Lihue, HI. Thank you @guestspeeches for the creative opp to inspire through these  times. I’m excited about this & maybe more opps will come. #EdLeadership #EdSpeaker”

“So timely,” says Anthony Kim, CEO of Education Elements, a consulting company that works with hundreds of schools across the country. “High School students are graduating at a fragile time. They may be uncertain about their future. Even the future of their colleges,” Kim continues. “But many successful leaders know this is the time to be innovative, to double down, and to invest. We need to inspire the graduating class of 2020, to see the opportunities and the open road ahead.

For more information, contact Jethro Jones, jethro@paperlessprincipal.com

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