Doritos Valedictorian redefines who a valedictorian can be

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) /

While this year’s graduation ceremonies do not have the traditional pomp and circumstance, Doritos is redefining the valedictorian with a focus on a message.

A graduation ceremony is a right of passage. Doritos, many students’ favorite snack,  understands that graduating seniors may have a sense of disappointment that their moment to walk across the stage has been blocked by the current crisis. While many people are trying to find alternate options to celebrate the students, their moment and their accomplishments, Doritos and iHeartMedia are looking to fill some speaking roles in their Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020.

At some graduations, the valedictorian is the person who achieved in school. From the best grades to the potentially most successful, that person giving the speech is the voice of achievement, accomplishment and authority. She might not have been your best friend or the person you sat next to in class. Still, she was that girl who set a goal and obtained it.

With the current climate changing how everyone reacts to life, many people are looking to strong messages as a way to feel supported and even empowered. Sometimes, it isn’t the most accomplished person in the room who has the strongest voice, it can the person with the most profound message that has the biggest impact.

Doritos and its Valedictorian program is looking for graduating seniors to share their voice. It isn’t about the resume of AP classes or high GPA achievements. It is about a graduating senior who shows the resilience of the class of 2020.

This year’s graduating class might remember distance learning, the lack of a grad bash or a virtual graduation ceremony. The way that the class of 2020 uses these circumstances in their future will be long remembered after the shelves have been re-stocked with toilet paper.

If you are or know of a graduating senior who would like to apply to be Doritos Valedictorian, submissions can be made to, now through Monday, May 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. The submissions should be a short version of a potential speech, no more than two minutes.

Five graduating speakers will be chosen to have their speeches included in the iHeartMedia’s podcast special Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020. The seniors will join other speakers like Katie Couric, John Legend and others. In addition, the chosen valedictorians will receive $50,000 in tuition assistance.

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What would your message of resilience to the graduating class of 2020 be?