By: Renee Grant

If you’re Billy Joel in high school and a late night performance keeps you from graduating, what do you do? Get your diploma 25 years later and 50 years later, you give the commencement speech for the class of 2017.

Related: Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ Gets Historically Accurate Video

Just before the end of Joel’s senior year, after performing a show at a piano bar, he went home and fell asleep. When he woke up, he had missed a crucial test in English, which left him one credit shy of graduating. Joel was able to rectify it and received his diploma 25 years later, walking in the graduation ceremony held in 1992.

Today, Joel again returned to Hicksville High School to inspire a new generation of kids to dream big, and to pick jobs they’d like to do forever. “And pick a job that you like, because if you pick a job that you hate, your life’s gonna suck,” he joked to the students.

You can watch the commencement speech below.


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