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Dwyane Wade Surprises South Florida Students with Graduation Speech

Dwyane Wade

Retired NBA player Dwyane Wade surprised graduating students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, speaking about his connection with the school after a 2018 shooting left 17 dead while receiving loud cheers from the crowd.

Wade was a surprise speaker for the high school’s graduation ceremonies Sunday. In his speech, he shared his perspective on his first visit to the Parkland, Florida, school in March 2018, three weeks after the shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members.

“My life is bigger than basketball and that’s why I asked to come to Marjory Stoneman Douglas to do whatever was needed of me,” Wade told the students. “I remember pulling up and seeing a few security guards outside. I remember being met by one of the staffers. I remember us walking to the school and I remember hearing absolutely nothing. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’ve never felt — I’ve never heard this kind of silence before in my life.’”

Wade’s first visit to the school to inspired the basketball star, with him seeing several students who became outspoken advocates for gun control.

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The 16-year NBA veteran who retired at the end of the 2018-19 season, made note of former student Joaquin Oliver. The 17-year-old was a big fan of Wade’s, and was buried in his Miami jersey.

“Thank you for reminding me of my purpose. I’ll try to continue to be a leader and the fighter that Joaquin Oliver thought I was,” he added, causing the crowd to cheer. “What I loved most and appreciated the most was that you all became advocates. You became the faces and the voices for kids all around the world. I’m so proud to say the words MSD strong.”