Montville Township High School Class of 2022 Salutatorian Isabella Ivankovic spoke with her peers at the 51st Annual MTHS Commencement Ceremony on June 23, 2022.
Ivankovic, will be studying Cell Biology and Neuroscience on the PreMed Track this fall at the Rutgers University Honors College in New Brunswick.
“…what’s important,” Ivankovic told the Class of 2022 at graduation, “Not just what you’ve done or accomplished -- but who you’ve become. The connections you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had, and how they’ve shaped you…no grade, no admissions letter, no pandemic…and no other person can take away who you are.”
A transcript of Ivankovic’s full speech presented by to the MTHS Class of 2022 at graduation is listed in italics below.
A township resident since childhood, Ivankovic lived in the Towaco section of Montville Township until she was 8-years-old. Her family then moved to the Montville section of the township where she attended William Mason Elementary School and then Robert R. Lazar Middle School.
“Things like perfection pale in comparison to creativity and joy,” Ivankovic said when asked about the most important wisdom she will take with her from high school. “Your work or performance may never be flawless, but if your heart’s in it, it’ll always mean all the more.”
As sophomores when the global pandemic began, the Class of 2022 has had unprecedented experiences. Recently Ivankovic was asked what she would like people to know about high school or the world at large. The salutatorian then wrote: “High school + world at large: I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs throughout high school, and things most definitely didn’t work out the way I expected them to in the beginning. But what this has taught me about the world is that things always have a way of working out in the end, even if we can’t see how in the moment. What’s most important is to always keep faith, especially in yourself.”
The full speech presented by MTHS Class of 2022 Salutatorian Isabella Ivankovic can be viewed on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel.
The full transcript of Ivankovic‘s speech can be read below:
“As is customary to say, I’m so honored to be up here and have the opportunity to speak to you all. Looking out on the crowd, I see so many bright, accomplished young individuals among us. I have been privileged to have been able to grow alongside all of you these past few years. And as much as I would love to go right into giving the twenty-something those of you the shout-outs you all asked for the moment I mentioned I’d be giving this speech, patience is a virtue.
That’s something we’ve all had to learn over the course of these long, past few years. It’s all of us, together, who are now reaching the end of what’s been an unconventional and dare I say difficult high school career.
We’ve gone through a lot -- a global pandemic for starters, several events that future AP US History kids will now have the added burden of studying, unprecedented times in our country’s polarization, and for my AP Physics class, the infamous I = ∫r2dm.
Audience members who are not part of my AP Physics class and are potentially confused as to what that means, don’t worry - so are all of us.
But even if I don’t fully understand what it means, I’ll always remember it -- Not for the sense of confusion it brought to me personally, but the hilarious look on the face of literally every single one of my classmates. Forever bamboozled together.
I’ll always remember the ratio test from my calculus class. I was terrible at applying and definitely am already about 60% on the way to forgetting how to use entirely, but I did laugh a lot at the terrible ‘ratio’ jokes made every two seconds upon it being brought up.
I had a rough couple of visits to the guidance office this year, but I’m lucky to say that most of them haven’t been solo journeys. And I know I said I wouldn’t do these but special shout-out to Pooja Balakrishnan for crying in the SAC office for the sole reason that I also happened to be crying in the SAC office - single handedly the best bonding experience I’ve ever had.
Each and every one of these difficulties - fear, confusion, anxiety - all of them ultimately fade in comparison to the fond memories I’ll have of the laughter I shared with my classmates. Of the connections that we all made. Of the ways in which I’ve grown beyond just as an academic, but as person. The person - not just the salutatorian - that’s standing before all you at this moment.
And that’s what’s important. Not just what you’ve done or accomplished, but who you’ve become. The connections you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had, and how they’ve shaped you. Because no grade, no admissions letter, no pandemic, no terrible horrible unforeseen circumstance may perchance plague in future, and no other person can take away who you are.
So, I’d like to ask that everyone take a moment to find those special people who know and appreciate you for who you truly are. Who have shaped you into the person you are today, or simply have the ability to make you smile any day. Give them a big wave, hands up high.
For those of you whose person or people might not be with us today, a hand to the sky in their honor.
Big waves, work out those biceps.
Alright, now here comes the shout-outs that we’ve been oh-so patient for!!! With all that I’ve said
in mind, thank you to my closest friends friends, Pooja, Eva, Brinda, Katy, Serge, Rohan, Griffin,
Eazhil, Niranth, for bringing so much joy and comfort into my life even when I was at my lowest.
You’ve all done so much to remind me of how much value I hold as a person, not just a number or a letter. Thank you to all my extended family, the aunts and the uncles and the grandparents and all the extended Croatian cousins, who have supported me every step of this journey, you’re all amazing. Thank you to all of my teachers who have given me so much guidance and inspiration over the years, and all my classmates, who made each and every day better simply by being there.
Thank you to my mom, for always reminding me that amidst all my academic stress and ‘fifty million clubs’ as she liked to call it (spoiler it was actually like three), that it was important that I still took time to just be a kid. To enjoy myself. To have fun. Thank you to my dad for comforting me every single time I came home miserable because of a B, which, let’s be honest, is still great grade, past Isabella was definitely just a bit too high-strung. But no matter what, my tata was always there to do everything he could to make me smile. Thank you to my sister Klaudia, who kept me company during one too many insane all-nighters. I don’t know what I would do without any of you.
It’s from the bottom of my heart that I say thank you for all the kindness each and every one of you has both shown and taught me over these past four years. I hope to embody that same kindness throughout my life. And I think everyone should strive to do similar.
We’ve all gone through a lot in the past, but I’m adamant that together, we’ll be able to create a beautiful future for ourselves like no other. Because each and every one of us are truly like no other. And that final lesson, beyond each of those that we’ve already endured in our classes, should always be remembered and treasured. As I’ll always remember and treasure each and every one of you. As we should always remember and treasure those closest to us. Forever and always, no matter what.
Thank you. :)”
The 2022 Montville Township High School graduation was held on Thursday, June 23, 2022, outdoors in the Mustang Stadium. Video of the full graduation can be viewed at Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel. A Photo Gallery is also on the YouTube channel, and an article about all the proceedings can be found on montville.net at: http://www.montville.net/News/mths2022graduation .