Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 

The students at Hillwood High School never expected to convince Brian Williams to deliver their commencement address. But on Thursday night, there he was: dispensing wisdom to a crowd of smiling 2014 graduates.

It started with a YouTube video, and then the principal’s email request arrived.

“I was hooked,” Brian Williams told the students. “There was no way I was going to say no.”

That was months ago –- and finally, Williams arrived in Nashville, Tenn., to help Hillwood celebrate their graduation.

At one point, he paused to take a panoramic picture of the crowd.

"Break the cycle of entitlement -- go after it," he said. "After all, you went after me. Watch the first-person. The first person you should be talking about and thinking about is often someone else other than you."

See some of the best highlights here:

Watch the speech in its entirety below.