On Friday June 8, Madeira awarded 73 diplomas to the class of 2019. After the traditional processional to their seats with handheld bouquets of 13 red roses, (a tradition that honors the 13 original boarders at Madeira), Imam Mohamed HagMagid P ’16, ’19, ’21, gave the invocation.
Elected by her peers as the class speaker, Amani Hagmagid spoke of the diversity among her classmates.
“The Class of 2019 is full of diversity," said Amani, “Diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, but most importantly, diversity of thought. We have learned to be confident in who we are while understanding others… Our class is an example of how you can embrace everyone’s differences, even if your views don’t align.”
Aves Mocek and Monica Shen introduced the commencement speaker, author and alumna Julia Reed ’78.
Reed, a contributing editor at Vogue and Newsweek, also quoted from Dolly Parton, Kurt Vonnegut and former U.S. President Andrew Jackson. She urged graduates to strive for their dreams and not let trepidation dissuade them.
“Every regret in my life stems from fear,” she told the class. “Put yourself out there. Do some things that scare the hell out of you.”
Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca admired the ability of the graduates to embrace their differences.
“As a class, in many ways you are a microcosm of our country. You represent different traditions, backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, political and religious beliefs, abilities and interests. Your unique individual attributes distinguish you in a crowd: among you there are leaders, followers, outspoken activists, quiet doers, deep thinkers, fierce individualists and just as fierce team players. You have talents and passions, whether innate or learned, that you are not afraid to demonstrate. Where you differ from “the real world,” that is, the world beyond our gates, is that you have come together and stood together as a class despite your differences. You have learned to value each other for inner beauty, for intellect, for being fun-loving, for simple friendship. You have learned to overlook differences and cohabit in relative harmony. You have learned to focus on, and appreciate, what each of you brings to life rather than to focus on and reject what makes you different. You will not find that same generosity of spirit everywhere. As you pack your bags to leave Madeira, this gift of valuing differences is something I want you to take with you. It is a treasure to cherish, to unpack at your next destination, to go back to and embrace whenever you encounter difficulties, and to remember to constantly dust off and not discard.”
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Cathy Shraga ’70 encouraged the class to remain involved at Madeira.
“I know you are on your way to new adventures and exciting college careers…and work careers, and lives full of promise, but when you look back on your time here, I hope you won’t just remember it fondly. I hope you’ll consider seriously how you can help perpetuate and sustain this place we have all shared. Because I totally believe in the power of Madeira to launch women who will change the world…people, in fact, just like you!”
Imam HagMagid, gave the benediction and the ceremony concluded with the awarding of diplomas and the recessional out of the amphitheater. A reception was held for all families and friends on the Oval.
You can view the commencement ceremony in its entirety at https://locallive.tv
View images from commencement here.