Riverdale News & Stories
Kay Madati '91, the global vice president and head of content partnerships at Twitter, told members of the Class of 2019 today that they have been given the granted the "privilege and responsibility" of making an impact on the world.
"You all have been given a gift," he said. "When you know how to think, it empowers you more than knowing what to think. This is Riverdale's true gift. You've been taught how to figure it out, how to critically think and apply it to whatever endeavor you choose."
Madati, a Tanzanian citizen born in Norway, was raised in the U.K. His birth mother died when he was 13, and he and his 12-year-old brother were adopted by American friends who brought them to New York. His Riverdale experience was transformative.
"Riverdale has always been more than just a school," he said. "It is, and will always be, the place that literally changed my life, where teachers, coaches, deans, cared more than they should, where friends, many of whom are here today, were found and have endured through the ages, where a sense of purpose was developed, where confidence was built, where leadership was taught, where character was molded, where perseverance through challenge was modeled."
Madati offered five pieces of advice to the graduates.
He advised them to "unleash the power of the gift you have been given here" and use critical thinking to make a difference. He told them to be "brave enough to live your authentic self" and to "get up when you are knocked down."
He urged them to seek diverse experiences. "I will never undervalue how the breadth of diversity has expanded my knowledge of the things that really matter in this world," he said. "If you leave this exclusive enclave of privilege and years from now only have a circle of friends and family who only looks like you, and thinks like you, and lives like you, then you have failed." Finally, he said, "try to matter."