In his commencement speech, Filip Risteski encouraged his classmates to “Live in the moment,” and cautioned them to be careful about being “caught in the cycle of living as 2/7ths a person. Living only for two days of the seven each week.”
Risteski, who served as the Montville Township High School Class of 2022 President, said his 2/7th theory came to him late one night while reading his math text book.
“Here, I found the fraction 2/7ths,” Risteski said. “More than just the answer…. Two-sevenths. Two parts of seven have come to define who I am, who we are, especially as teenagers…There might be air in our lungs and blood in our veins, but it is not the same during those five weekdays as it is on those two weekend days.”
Explaining that teenagers are extremely busy, Risteski noted that his schedule included: “7 hours of school, 2 hours of clubs, 3 hours of lacrosse, another for community service, 4 hours for homework, and a final 5 at work — well beyond the capacity of a 24-hour day….When truly living for only the weekend, for only 2 days each week, I don’t think we realize how fast time slips by,” the graduating senior said.
Risteski’s full speech is transcribed below in italics.
On Tuesday, June 23, 2022, Risteski addressed his peers at the 51st Annual MTHS Commencement Ceremony.
“Going forward, things can be different though,” Risteski noted. “We can become 7/7ths of a person—we can live life as a whole. Daily life can be made much more interesting if we can spend each day taking risks—scrapping the fear of failure. We can choose each day to chase our dreams and spend more time with one another. We can live in the moment, not waiting for it.”
Those assembled in the Mustang Stadium for the graduation event included: 255 graduates, as well as families, friends, faculty, administrators, and members of the community at large.
During the speech Risteski also took a selfie from the stage with the Class of 2022. “I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share my story and my ideas with my graduating peers, the faculty, and parents at graduation.” Risteski recently wrote when asked what he would like others to know about him. “I hope my words left people with a new perception to their lives.”
In the fall Risteski will attend the University of Notre Dame and major in Management Consulting with a focus on Healthcare Administration.
Before launching his high school career at MTHS, Risteski attended two other Montville Township Public Schools: Cedar Hill Elementary School and Robert R. Lazar Middle School.
“The most important wisdom that I will take with me from high school is to live life in its present moment,” Risteski explained after the ceremony. “I think we should share the present more with the people around us.”
The full commencement speech presented by Filip Risteski President of the MTHS Class of 2022 can be viewed on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel.
The full transcript of Risteski‘s speech is printed below:
“’He’s just the shy one.’ As a child, that’s what I’d hear my mom say to every adult as I was tucked behind her leg. And, it was true; I was the shy one. Especially when you looked at my older sister who needed duck tape to keep herself from talking or my younger brother who was known to be off somewhere getting in trouble. I was the shy one. To call me the naturally born leader is humbly not true. So, how did I get here standing before all of you as your class president?
Not to be cliché, but I am a product of Montville Township High School and its profound opportunities. At this school, I met a variety of people who prompted me to try new things. During my freshman year, my friends convinced me to join the lacrosse team. In Bombard’s AP Bio class, I met a group who pushed me to take a few more of those Honors and APs. The two girls in my sophomore Chem swayed me into joining their study sessions. And, by my junior year, I still can’t thank everyone enough for the support they gave me as I stepped into the role of student council president. Without the people that MTHS introduced me to, I would not be the same successful person I am today. Nor would I have some of the best memories I’ve ever made.
But with trying new things, eventually, I was tied to 7 hours of school, 2 hours of clubs, 3 hours of lacrosse, another for community service, 4 hours for homework, and a final 5 at work — well beyond the capacity of a 24-hour day. I used to always hear the question: I just don't know how you do it? And with the routine sleepless nights and stressed mornings even myself could not understand how I managed to live such a packed schedule.
It was one late Tuesday night that I began to understand the how? My inspiration came from a book I am sure we have all read… the math textbook. With papers sprawled across my bed, I was staring at Migs Calculus worksheet. Here, I found the fraction 2/7ths… more than just the answer to her integral. Two-sevenths. Two parts of seven have come to define who I am, who we are, especially as teenagers.
People find the need to look forward to something in order to push through the day, living life almost on autopilot. More often than not, we look forward to the weekend, caught in the cycle of living as 2/7ths a person. Living only for two days of the seven each week. There might be air in our lungs and blood in our veins, but it is not the same during those five weekdays as it is on those two weekend days. When truly living for only the weekend, for only 2 days each week, I don’t think we realize how fast time slips by. Everyone told us our freshman year, ‘High school happens in the blink of an eye.’—And that became especially true during our unconventional four years. Leaving us, just like that, here today in our caps and gowns.
Going forward, things can be different though. We can become 7/7ths of a person—we can live life as a whole. Daily life can be made much more interesting if we can spend each day taking risks—scrapping the fear of failure. We can choose each day to chase our dreams and spend more time with one another. We can live in the moment, not waiting for it. Invested more in the here and now, and less on the blaring red of the digital clock—hoping that if we stare at it just a little longer it’ll magically become 2:10. I, myself, am a victim of living this 2/7ths life. And looking back at it, I reminisce on the time I spent sprinting to the senior lot, hoping to beat the buses; wishing now, I can somehow sit in that line one more time and feel the adrenaline rush of almost getting into a car crash each day. Because if you didn’t know, we're really bad drivers.
Anyways, this is the last time our class is gathered together here as one. This is one of the last times you will see some of the people sitting next to you. So, my advice is to stop the awkward eye contact and the move where you pull out your phone scrolling through the weather app to pretend you didn’t see them. We have all done it. The little will he say hi or should I? the will it be awkward if I just don’t say anything? until you both just pass each other.
Humans are beings of connection. And sure—at this school, you have probably made some of the strongest connections and closest friends. We have known the people around us for around 13 years now, but we are each about to enter a whole new world. Life is too short to wait for the right moment. The next time you’re sitting in a classroom, say ‘hi’ to the kid next to you. When you enter the workforce, demand your own opportunities. We are all human. And we each have the ability to become the next doctor, next lawyer, next engineer, the next actor, musician, politician, or manager. We have the ability to be whoever we want if we just stop waiting for our moments.
But part of being 7/7ths is being together and making the moments we have together count. Life is about both the big and small things. It’s the midterm exams and late-night drives. It’s the game-winning touchdowns and conversations in the back of class. It’s the college acceptances and the hacky sack rounds in lunch. Not that the bigger things were not important. The tests, quizzes, and essays all developed us into intellectuals over these past 4 years, but right now I cannot tell you the kinematic equation for the vertical component of a moving projectile (sorry Mr. Queen) What I can tell you about is Memorial Day Weekend last year when me and my friends all got lost in the rain or the time we all had together at prom. These are the things I remember, and you are the people that I carry with me.
I am still that nervous little boy my mom used to tell her friends about, and somehow I managed to become your class president. I cannot thank my family, friends, the faculty, staff, coaches, janitors, and everyone enough for their commitment to our senior class. Thank you Mom for always believing in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. Not only did you almost die giving birth to me, but you are my rock, my go-to, the greatest listener to my stories, and truly my number one supporter in everything I do—even if I drive you a little crazy. I’ve never met a person more committed to my success than you, and I wouldn't be up here today without you. So, if you aren’t crying yet I hope you are now, because you are the biggest cry baby. Love you mom. Thank you Dad for working tirelessly to provide me with the life I live. Thank you to my siblings, Gabbi and Miki. Though given to me by chance, and teasing each other by choice. You guys are my best friends, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. By the way, I am totally mom’s favorite right now. Moving on, working with the Student Council, SAC, Mrs. Sheehan, and Mrs. Heitmann has truly been a pleasure. Thank you to Mrs. Marotta for handling my madness and getting me into college. Go Irish! Thank you to all my teachers who made high school memorable. And thank you to my friends for making these 4 years that I will never forget.
As we dwindle down to the final minutes of our high school career and get ready to wake up tomorrow starting a new chapter, I want you all to know that I love each and every one of you—all 251 of you. And I know what some of you are thinking, I have never spoken two words to this kid. Even still, know that we are still connected in our memories and in this moment.
Tomorrow, we will no longer eat lunch together. We will no longer wear the green and white of our jerseys. We will no longer see each other’s faces every day or complain that Dr. K gave us another essay. We will no longer take laps around the hallway to avoid class. We will no longer, ever in our lives, be high school students again. My hope is that we, the Montville Township Class of 2022 see each other again with stories to tell. If you remember me for anything, remember me saying this: start taking risks, start enjoying the small things, and start living as 7/7ths a person.
I’m Filip Risteski. It’s been honor to be your student council president, your friend, or a face you see in the hallway.”