Matthew McConaughey gives inspiring commencement speech to class of 2020

The Academy Award winner shares why it’s important to unite during these challenging times.
9:46 | 05/15/20

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Transcript for Matthew McConaughey gives inspiring commencement speech to class of 2020
To the class of 2020, I want you to know that this, indeed, does suck, but you're going to get through it. You're going to get past it. You're going to look back on it. You're going to loofe. You may cry. But all of it is going to sense when you are older. I promise. Oh, welcome back to "Good morning America." So great to have a message from our friend, Josh gad to the class of 2020. We are celebrating graduates across the country this morning. All morning long and prom, of course, as you can see, there they are. So many people staying home. We want to make sure students are getting recognized for all of their hard work. George, it's an amazing moment for them. It is an amazing moment for them. We congratulate all of them. Joining us live is the urban assembly school for emergency management class of 2020. An incredible group of students who have already accomplished so much. You guys, you know there's not a graduation ceremony without a commencement speech. This morning's speaker is an academy award winning actor joining us live from his home. Please welcome the one and only Matthew mcconaughey. Matthew, we're giving you a standing ovation. You can't see it. Always good to see your face. You bring so much joy to you know, you've been doing so much throughout the crisis. On Monday we showed your psa. It's about us and it talks -- it asks America to unite throughout the crisis and why is this so important to share that message? Yeah, you know, this crisis came on and it gave us all a unified purpose. Gave humanity a unified purpose. It gave us as Americans a unified purpose. And in the last month or so, a false divide has been created by some partisan politics and all of a sudden the narrative became if you wanted to work, well, you are obviously on the far right. If you want to stay home you're on the far left. If you want to wear a mask, you're on the left, if you don't, you're on the right. It's all false, it's all untrue so put the psa out just to remind us we need to keep our eye on the ball, we need all hands on the rope and in America right now our purpose is not an us versus them politically partisan fight. Our purpose right now is to beat the virus together and that's the psa. It's about us. That's how we'll do it. It's about us as in the usa so let's stick together through this. Yeah, we can all unite through this amazing graduation ceremony and I have to say, Matthew, we've been sharing all of our high school photos from way back when. I know you graduated in 1988. We are showing your photo. Look at you there. I'm curious, what was the best -- Are you talking about -- What was the best advice you received back then? I really like the blond highlights too. Did you get those? I probably had a rat tail in the back as well. Best advice I got this high school, probably from a friend of mine named renise Sherman. I remember one morning we arrived at school and came up to me and complimented me on like what I was wearing, you know, you're a good-looking guy, Matthew. I was kind of like, oh, and she reached out and I remember her grabbing my arm and going, hey, just say thank you. If someone gives you a compliment you don't need to -- just say, thank you. Look them in the eye. I'll never forget that thank you. I love that. That is a great message. What is your message for all the students this morning? What is my message what? For all the students this morning? Oh, what is my commencement speech? Are we ready for that? Let's hear it. We're ready. Okay. So, here we go. We are talking to you, the urban assembly school for emergency management. To you I say congratulations. Number one you just graduated. You got no prom. You got no real ceremony. But don't feel bad. At least you're originals. You are the one and onlies. You're going to have a whole lot of fun for the rest of your life knowing that. Sing it from the rooftops. We are the class of 2020. We got a virtual graduation. We got a drive-by and we got mcconaughey to do our commencement put it on t-shirts make a rap song out of it. Wear it as a badge of honor because it is yours and yours only forever. Want to congratulate you on your chosen professions as emergency management trackers. We all have a role to play in making this world a better place and you chose to do something with real and necessary purpose. People all over the world are looking for purpose every single day and you got one. Your vocation is a necessity, it's not a luxury. It's a brave job that takes true courage and commitment. Now, some of you are going to college and many of you are going trait to the front line. You'll be entering the workforce during a crisis, this one we're in right now and you will have no internship, no emergency ride-along, no audition, no warm-ups. No G league before the NBA. No friendly matches with no score to keep. Yeah. You're going to be in the ring on the starting five on day one live. Now, I know that's not how you planned it but it is how it turned out and how it is so I say to you, stay focused in your tunnel vision and embrace the unique position that you're in. And believe and know that you can do it. Support your 2020 graduate brothers and sisters, become a fraternity. You know, a special class like no other. Take pride in your position and embrace the challenge. You're giving back. You're adding value to your community, you're striving to be your best self so I want you to be urged to take this together. What helped me along the way, act today in ways that you will respect tomorrow. From how you treat yourself to how you treat others in real life and in online and whey mean by online, just remember those comments you leave online, those thumb's up or thumb's down will outlive you. They are part of your resume of who you are. Number two, respect yourselves and others. Inspire yourselves and others and laugh as much as possible and have as much fun as you can when you can. Number three, life's hard. Even without a damn pandemic. You realize that now and you're going to enjoy your life a whole lot more later. Number four, don't be afraid to fail. Learn who you are, take risks to be that person, then persist and pursue to get what you want. Number five, let your reach exceed your grasp. If you do that, what you end up getting is going to be better than what you could have grabbed. Number six, you're not going to be straight As in life and if you did, life would be pretty doggone boring because how do we ever know what was right if we didn't screw up. Number seven, take care of yourselves, family and loved one,s forgive yourselves, family and loved ones, bet on yourself, hold your sync to task. Make a plan when you can and own it. So that I say thank you, urban assembly school for emergency management, New York, New York, class of 2020. Make it count and above all, just keep living. Not only is that what we're all here to do, that's what you and your job allow us to do. Thank you. It is about us. Thank you, Matthew What a fantastic message right there. That was just great, Matthew. Thank you. You mentioned right there at the end just keep living and that is the name of your foundation. Tell us what you're trying to do with that. We have an after-school curriculum in schools across America where we teach kids fitness, nutrition, community, service and gratitude. Right now what we're doing is we're getting food to a lot of these students, not only in our schools but other schools all over the nation because we got to remember there are a lot of students that depended on maybe one, two meals a day from their school which they can't go to right now. Another thing we're doing is we're trying to supply them with the means to continue their education while they can't be in school and getting them laptops that didn't have them before. Or maybe someone had a laptop but didn't have a hot spot and couldn't get online so getting them hot spots so they can continue to learn during this time when they cannot go to school. That's fantastic. Really fantastic and, Matthew, we want to thank you. Your speech was not just for the class of 2020 but all of us can learn to live by it. We appreciate you and through your just keep living foundation you're donating over 35,000 meals and 700 laptops to help kids in need. Matthew, thank you again. These kids will never forget it, my friend. We appreciate it. Good morning, America. Go make it happen! Just keep living. No doubt. Keep living.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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