"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon made a surprise appearance at the graduation ceremony for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday, where a gunman killed 17 people in February.
Four families received diplomas for loved ones who were slain in the attack that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.
Fallon offered praise, saying, "You are not just the future—you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud." He also joked that the students soon "won't be classmates any more. You'll be adults who will Facebook search each other at 2 in the morning for the next 10 years."
Turning more serious, he said, "First thing is this: when something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don't let anything stop you."
The private ceremony for the nearly 800 members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2018 was being held at the BB&T Center, where the NHL's Florida Panthers play. It was moved to the arena to accommodate the expected large crowd. Reporters were not permitted inside the arena.
Fourteen students and three staff members died in the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland. Former student Nikolas Cruz is charged with their deaths and the wounding of 17 other people. Attorneys for the 19-year-old have said he will plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.