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Salutatorian Dimitrije Kostic Does Swimingly Under Pressure

Kailey Withers

Kailey Withers

David Welsh, Staff Writer

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By David Welsh

Staff Writer

  Every year here at the UC High Commander, we honor the students who have risen above the plague of senioritis and apathy to achieve the best grades in the school. These are kids who you can look at from across a football field and instantly know that they’re going places in life, and this year, Salutatorian Dimitrije Kostic is no exception. Emigrating from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, when he was just a little kid, the gentle giant quickly adapted to the radically different circumstances.

  Since arriving, he has developed many interests, from founding the Future Engineers Club to the Aaron Price Fellowship, but by far his favorite activity is Water Polo. “It’s a competitive and difficult sport, and it’s something I can focus on that isn’t academic. I also love it for the exercise, which makes me far more productive, and I’d like to think it makes me a better person in general,” he explained. “Even though it’s honestly one of the most rigorous and exhausting things a person can do, I love it with all my heart. The bond I have between my teammates and I, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

  Throughout the years, he has managed to juggle multiple AP classes, clubs and sports, and still maintained an incredible 4.71 GPA. Though he loved most of the classes he took here at UC, his favorites by far were the math and science classes. “I just love how math and science are actually applicable in the real world, and I’ve always been a fan of building and making things, so it aligns pretty well with that,” he said. Come fall, he will be starting classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he hopes to  major in electrical engineering. He chose the specialty because he wants to make the world a better place for everyone, and he has just the plan to make it happen. Kostic explained, “My plan would be to resurrect Tesla’s concept of worldwide wireless energy transfer, allowing us to instantly transfer energy practically around the globe. If we figure out how to make it work, you could make remote electrical energy generation sites and deliver it to other regions that don’t have the same energy producing capabilities, basically giving power to all. After all, how can we expect to lift billions of people out of poverty when so many don’t even have access to basic resources?”

  The fact that he came in second to Valedictorian Zack Gelber doesn’t phase Kostic a bit. “Zack and I were tied going into senior year, and instead of taking another college class, I decided to mentor people instead. Honestly, I was just bored and wanted to see what I was capable of, and I saw no reason not to try as hard as I could in my studies.” he said with his head held high.

  When he’s not in the pool or studying for his next exam, Kostic is hard at work making memories with his friends. “No matter what anyone says or does, he always puts forth his best effort in his classes, yet he never turns down the opportunity to hang out  with us and do stupid stuff together,” said Senior Sebastian Andree, one of his closest friends. Senior Josh Scott, another long-time friend of Kostic’s, remembers vividly the time Kostic and he teamed up in water polo the first time during freshman year: “Dimitrije and I scored and assisted each other more than anyone else on the team that day. It made me feel invincible — that’s the best way I can describe it,” said Scott.

  As for the teacher’s perspective, AP Biology Teacher Janelle Aleksic, had this to say: “As a Serbian immigrant, Kostic is in a unique position to reflect on immigration, and how it can give people entirely new perspectives on life.”  “As an immigrant from Serbia, born on another continent, I have grown up in America and experienced both cultures. My identity comes from this foundation and inevitably colors the way I view my future,” Kostic said. Having gone through four years of intense honors and AP classes, Kostic has a few wise words for incoming freshmen hoping to follow in his footsteps, “Study smart, not hard. Manage your time well, and always prioritize your studies before everything else. Oh, and get enough sleep, cannot recommend that enough.”

   Next year, we’ll have a completely new set of overachievers, and this year’s seniors will be off in the world, hopefully making it a better place. One thing’s for sure though, Dimitrije and kids like him will go far in life, and I hope I speak for all of us in that I look forward to seeing just how far they can go.

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Salutatorian Dimitrije Kostic Does Swimingly Under Pressure