The Rock Responds To Teen's Letter With Poignant Graduation Speech
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reveals how a letter from a high school senior has inspired him that change is coming
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an inspiration to the world. Not only does he have an amazing success story, but he is one of the most kind, compassionate, and generous celebrities in Hollywood, a great husband and father, and a social activist. A few weeks ago, in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers who have been charged with the killing, Johnson posed an important question to the world asking where our leader is. On Monday, he revealed that his question had been answered unintentionally by a high school senior who wrote a letter asking him to speak at her graduation.
“A few weeks ago I asked a question that wound up sparking national and global headlines, national and global reactions and responses,” he started the 12-minute video, dedicated to graduating high school seniors. The question? “Where are you?”
He explains that he was speaking to leadership. “Where is that leader? Where is our leader who would step up to our country during this time when our country is on its knees when our country is completely collapsed and on its knees of dealing with and absorbing unprecedented civil unrest, unprecedented inequality? Where is that leader who is going to step up and face the country, face our people and take accountability for every single person in our country, every color, every religion, every gender, who will say I hear you and extend their hand?”
He continues to explain that if a leader were to face systemic racism head-on and address it that the country and world would rise together. But returning to the question he posed a few weeks back, he explains that the response was overwhelming positive, as people from around the world offered a variety of possibilities. However, one letter in particular from Pompano Beach High School Senior Class President and Valedictorian, Lorraine Angelakos answered his question perfectly.
He continued to read the letter, asking Johnson to speak at her commencement ceremony, in its entirety. She starts by discussing his story of fame. How his fateful football injury led him to become a superstar. “As one door closes another door opens. You just have the drive and willpower to go through that next door and give it your all,” she explains about how his story was inspiring to her.
Then, she makes the point that most celebrity and high-profile graduation speakers are reserved for college graduations — when it is really those graduating from high school who need to be inspired the most.
“Some students will be making their way to college and some won’t. Some will be hitting the workforce. All of us have dreams and aspirations. I think of you as an inspiration to our youth to remind us that hard work, positivity, and perseverance will pay off no matter how hard the road may seem,” she wrote in her letter.
“I think the time is now in your senior year when some students won’t have the luxury to attend college and with the help of someone like you, you can inspire them. They deserve it now.”
He then reveals that she offered to pay for his services, from his food to his travel expenses — and even enclosed $7 as a down payment. Of course, Johnson declares that under normal circumstances, he would have showed up and spoke to the graduating class for free.
He then returns to his question, tying in how Lorraine answered it for him.
“Where are you?” he asks again. “You are right here,” he responds, gripping her letter tightly. “Here you are.”
“You guys are our empathetic, compassionate leaders who are going to lead us. Be the ones responsible for answering the questions that us adults are having a challenging time answering,” he continues. “You are going to be the ones to make sure our world is enjoying a normalized equality.”
He then continued to congratulate graduating high school seniors around the world, adding that he vows to help guide the way. “We are going to build a pathway. That is my accountability,” he says.
With all the darkness going on in the world, take 12 minutes out of your way to watch The Rock’s latest Instagram video in its entirety. You won’t regret it.