Brad Paisley surprises Chicago-area high school graduates with commencement performance

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The class of 2017 at Barrington High School near Chicago will likely never forget their commencement on Friday: Brad Paisley surprised the graduating seniors with a performance.

Paisley was at the ceremony — which took place at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois — after students entered a video contest the country crooner tweeted about last month, asking seniors what they will miss most about high school.

The school’s entry won, and Paisley’s performance was the prize — but students didn’t know they had snagged top honors until he appeared on stage. In Barrington High School’s video, students go mattress surfing down a flight of stairs, push their dean into a swimming pool and hit golf balls on the football field.

In a video Paisley posted to his Facebook page, the 700-plus students are seen watching the video on oversized screens. The school’s principal, Stephen A. McWilliams, says, “So I watched this video, and I couldn’t help but wonder: What would Brad Paisley say if he were giving this speech?”

Then, to a roar of applause, Paisley walks onto the stage.

“Can I have a tassel now?” Paisley joked. “That video that you guys made is amazing. I’m jealous,” he said. “We had a VCR at my school — you don’t even know what that is. That was the extent of our video department.”

Paisley introduced his set saying, “I’m going to play a couple songs for you before you go out and make the world a better place.” He performed his latest single “Last Time for Everything,” as well as “Letter to Me” and “Today.”

He also imparted to the graduating class, “My advice to you, as you go through life, is to enjoy the moments. Make memories, enjoy them and don’t take yourself too seriously. Go change the world, you all!”

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