Celebrating failures that lead to success, Montville seniors get their diplomas

Montville — Class of 2019 valedictorian Abigail Orbe opened her speech on the need to disregard grade point averages and the failures of the past.

"We are taught to compete and compare," Orbe said. "In a society that wants nothing more than for us to fight against each other, our class has grown to support and cheer each other. We shared in each other's failures and celebrated each other's successes."

Orbe went on to lambast the desire to make everything look fine, and instead called on her class to focus on the lessons they had learned over the past four years.

The theme of the need to learn from failure was a constant one when Montville High School graduated 144 seniors on Friday.

Class of 2008 graduate and guest speaker Gabrielle Tassone was surprised at the introspectiveness of the class. "These kids are more honest than I was at my age," she said. "They showed that they are stronger and more mature than I was at that age today."

Salutatorian Yu Meng Zhang also focused her speech on the importance of failure. She focused on the need to assess regret and move forward.

"Life is best lived striving for that improved version of ourselves," Zhang said. "We are closer to that version than we were four years ago but we still have a long way to go."

Even Principal Heather Sangermano touched on the theme in her speech to the class.

"I believe that for most, life is not that clear path, but more like a journey through a carnival fun house," Sangermano said. "There are deceptive mirrors, trap doors and twists and turns. In that fun house of life there are failures and missteps that lead you to places you did not anticipate going."

Sangermano called on the class to stop searching for a path and instead enjoy the one they are going down.

"And as we travel the twists and turns of our fun house, understand that we won't always be standing in the place we hoped and sometimes the floor will drop out, but remain curious in those moments. Maybe, in fact, it is curiosity that will lead us to where we belong."

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