Ashley Xiang is the Montville Township High School Class of 2023 Salutatorian. At the 52nd Annual MTHS Commencement Exercises she had the opportunity to address the 275 members of her class.
“I’m actually going to go out on a limb here and say things will be phenomenal because you will make it so” Xiang assured her classmates.
The salutatorian reminded the Class of 2023 choose a humorous path in which to encourage her peers to focus on their own happiness.
“I’m working on becoming a more optimistic realist and it’s a work in progress…but slow progress is still progress,” Xiang said. “I really think it is important to care a little less about image and a little more about what you really want. Do things for yourself. Make the conscious choice to try to be happy because life is too short to be upset all the time.”
The full transcript of Ashley Xiang’s MTHS Salutatorian speech to the Class of 2023 is below:
“Hi everyone! I expect that by now you’re hoping the speeches wrap up soon and luckily for you if I have learned one thing this year it is that sometimes less is more.
Let’s get started. So first, about myself, this is really important. Apparently more than one person has described me as blunt, quiet, hot, and apathetic. AND hello ??? Only ONE of those is true. But it is kind of crazy how fast people like to neatly draw the lines at what you can and can’t be, what you can and can’t do. People are too quick to judge and see others as one-dimensional creatures. ‘You’re the funny one, you’re the smart one, you’re the attractive one,’ okay and I’m all three. But seriously you and I are not all that special in the fact that most people are actually funny, good at a variety of things, and have stories to tell. Be kind to other people and let’s stop stereotyping ourselves as well as others. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s draw our own conclusions and not project personas onto others. I know it can be so difficult because truthfully other people’s opinions do matter, but I really think it is important to care a little less about image and a little more about what you really want. Do things for yourself.
Moving on, it has been a year of firsts, good ones and bad ones: trudging the hallways half-delusional on one hour of sleep, getting an F on a midterm, but ALSO my friends baking me a cake for my birthday and me getting off the waitlist to a college with a mascot named Jumbo so REALLY it sounds like I’m winning. I’m working on becoming a more optimistic realist and it’s a work in progress…but slow progress is still progress. Here’s something I told myself pretty much every other day: sometimes you just have to choose to be happy… Things go terribly wrong all the time, but when you can’t change the way things turn out, all you can do is control how you respond. I know very well now that things won’t always be fair. Some people will do awful things, and little things will always ruin your day even more when you think life can’t get any worse. All you can do is work on yourself and try to think about the things that did go pretty okay. Move forward and focus on what still has potential to be good. You can’t wallow in sadness forever and quite plainly no one’s going to save you. You have to pick yourself back up or find it in you to ask others for help. That’s just how it is. So make the conscious choice to try to be happy because life is too short to be upset all the time. Plus other people will find you tiresome and not very fun. And that’s the biggest repercussion of all because you are very fun!
Onto the essential honorable mentions. Mrs. Einstein is definitely one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met and someone I’ll remember vividly. You always thought so highly of all your students and it encourages us to believe in ourselves as well. Mr. Connolly never even taught me but he is so effortlessly hilarious and dad-like that I felt his prowess as an awesome person just from being a FBLA officer. Ms. Lomauro, you were a great listener and I applaud your tenacity for having to tolerate stressed students like me freaking out in your office. I was a little depresso espresso this year. And of course a big thanks to the forensics team, funny enough this is my first speech this school year. My time on the team built my character and my love for unfiltered, authentic discourse. Those who taught me how to speak are no longer on the team but shoot-out to you guys. Thank you to all of you and more.
A humongous thank you to my parents who have supported and rooted for me the last 18 years. It seems they really did believe in me, or were exhausted by the third kid, because they left me alone to figure out what I wanted to do. Something I am grateful for because it taught me to get my act together and to do things for me because most of the time they were actually telling me to chill out and take it easy. So parents it’s okay to take a breath and just let your kids be sometimes. Trust them! For what it’s worth, I turned out alright! Speak your truth, be there for them, and then if all else fails you’ll be able to say “I told you so.” An even bigger thanks to my siblings. Kelly thank you for being the only one in my family willing to proofread my writing and Ricky thank you for being my go-to for any question ever concerning school and literally life in general. You are my most trusted advisor. And to my friends who are really the ones who got me through all of school and each day: Shriya, Sammy, Kristina, and I’m not naming all my friends because I simply have too many what can I say… kidding Jordan x2, Sophia x2, Andrea, Mirella, Ram, GG, Ashley, Karolina, Anjali, Nami, Brendan, Paul and everyone else who’s on my Instagram close friends story I need to cut it off at some point. Thank you because truly without you guys around I’d be sad and lonely and definitely not doing as well in school and most importantly probably even more painfully blunt, quiet, and apathetic. Still hot though. To everyone who had a great year and to those who had what they think was the worst year so far, I hope things only get better and I’m actually going to go out on a limb here and say things will be phenomenal because you will make it so. High school graduates, I wish us all the best of luck. Congrats.”
Ashley Xiang‘s Salutatorian Speech can be viewed on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel.
The 2023 MTHS Class of 2023 Salutatorian attended the following Montville Township Public Schools: Valley View Elementary, Robert R. Lazar Middle, and Montville Township High School.
The 52nd Annual MTHS Commencement Exercises were held on outdoors on the field in the Mustang Stadium on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. Over 275 members of the Class of 2023 were honored that evening.
The 52nd Annual Montville Township High School Commencement Exercises were broadcast LIVE on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel and can be viewed at www.montville.net/mthsgraduation.