The Class of ’24 throws their caps in the air in celebration of their graduation from Riverdale.

Finding courage despite fear, listening to learn – even when we disagree – and remembering heart-warming moments with friends and teachers were some of the inspiring messages shared at Riverdale’s three milestone events. Surrounded by cheering family and friends, the Classes of 2024, 2028, and 2031 celebrated their accomplishments on their academic journeys.

A consistent theme at all three events was the kindness and strength of the Riverdale community and that this resource can be relied on by every student and alumni. “As you move on to Middle School, you might feel lost, lonely or afraid,” Head of School Kari Ostrem told the rising Sixth Grade class, “but remember to look up, and we, your school community, will be there for you.” 

Assistant Head of School for School Life and Head of Middle School Milton Sipp encouraged the rising Ninth Grade students to carry on their Middle School commitment to kindness, pointing out the importance of unity and support in challenging times. Assistant Head of Middle School Michael Sclafani urged these students to think about their impact on others: how can they bring joy and make others’ lives easier?

Members of the Class of ’28 sang “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield at the Middle School Graduation Ceremony.
Twelfth Grade Dean Johnny Hager surprised students by breaking out into song towards the end of his speech at the Class of ’24 Graduation Ceremony.

Addressing the Class of 2024, faculty speaker Kent Kildahl, retiring after 25 years, shared the advice of poet Phillip Larkin: “be careful of each other” and “be kind while there is still time.” Dean Johnny Hager sang “Hamburg Song” by Keane to express appreciation for this 24-carat gold class, all the love they’ve shared along the way, and the hard work that brought them to this memorable day.

Favorite Middle School Graduation traditions continued with Chloe Tang and Isabelle Hyun presenting a ceiling tile representing their Middle School experience and faculty members Dr. Terry Colliton and Michael Sclafani receiving student-selected awards to demonstrate the rising Ninth Grade’s respect and appreciation for their teaching and support.

Dr. James Duval, Associate Head of School and Head of Lower School, spoke of another important Riverdale value when he described the rising Sixth Grade’s achievements and growth during their years on the River Campus: “Your spirit keeps us connected to the School’s mission to change the world for the good.” 

Adam Green ‘91, who spoke to Riverdale’s newest alumni, also exemplifies Riverdale’s mission. As Founder and Executive Director of Bronx-based Rocking the Boat, Adam has created a community where underserved young people work together to develop pride, purpose, and possibility by building wooden boats, learning to sail, and restoring the Bronx River. Adam cited Riverdale’s approach to experiential learning, which challenges students to engage in solving complex, “real world” problems, as a catalyst that led him to create Rocking the Boat.

Riverdale’s 117th year came to a close with joy and reflection. Congratulations to all the students, and thank you to all families, friends, faculty, and staff who helped make these moments possible for Riverdale’s Classes of 2024, 2028, and 2031.

At the Class of ’24 Graduation Ceremony, Adam Green ’91 shared the story of how Riverdale inspired him to build his organization, Rocking the Boat.
The Class of ’31 sang “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C, adding lyrics that captured their memories of Lower School at their Moving On ceremony.