Saturday, May 30, 2020

Pottsgrove Grad's Video Part of Nationwide Commencement That Will Include Obamas Speeches

When Pottsgrove senior Ryan Romig heard in March for the first time that schools would be closed through the end of the year, his first response was to shoot a video.

Romig, who has made "over a thousand videos" on the YouTube platform, but has "deleted about 900 of them," took to his computer to vent his frustration at the turn of events.

"I fully and totally understand that coronavirus is a serious, serious thing, but dude, what the ..." he says in the beginning of an eight minute video that makes plain his disappointment.

"This was my senior year. This was all I had left, I had four more months left. That's it," he said.

"Now, senior prom, my graduation, everything, is just gone," Romig lamented.

He was perhaps speaking for all students across Pennsylvania when he said "all of us high school seniors, we are never getting any of this back. Nobody told me that something I've been working toward for 13 years is going to be stripped away."

As a "YouTuber," Romig of course hopes his video will find an audience.

What he hadn't counted on was that audience might include former President Barack Obama.

On June 6, Barrack and Michelle Obama will take part in YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020," which will stream live starting at 3 p.m. Both Obamas "will deliver separate commencement addresses" and "a joint message to students," according to ABC News.

That event will feature global leaders, celebrities, creators and more, including Malala Yousafzai, Sundar Pichai, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington.

A video has been created promote that event and that promotion includes footage from Romig's rant, which is titled "Goodbye Class of 2020."

"I heard about the closure when I was at work and I just came home and started working on it," Romig told The Mercury Friday.

Ironically, he said he spent less time on the video, about 90 minutes, than the usual three hours he puts into other, more complicated features.

But what "Goodbye Class of 2020," may have lacked in sophistication, it had plenty of emotion.

"I got an email asking about licensing and then I had a call with a woman who explained why they wanted it," said Romig.

Now, he is pretty excited.

"I've been doing this since I was a freshman and frankly, I was devoting so much time to it, I almost didn't graduate this year," he said with a laugh.

While he says its "awesome" that his video is part of a nationwide effort to recognize the special status of the Class of 2020, he is even more excited about what the exposure may bring.

"I'm hoping this is my big break," Romig said.In the meantime, Romig, who completed three semesters at Montgomery County Community College while in high school, plans to complete his last in the fall and then consider his options.

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