"It was such a beautiful instrument, and I knew I had to play it," Issari said. "When I started to sound good and realize I could produce music on my own, that was when I really fell in love with it."
Since that first moment of inspiration, Issari has played violin in a number of orchestras and symphonies and performed in a music festival in Germany.
Issari has a passion for languages—she studied Spanish and Chinese in high school, speaks Persian at home, and wrote one of her college essays about her desire to learn more foreign languages.
Issari also found time to earn stellar grades. Although Glastonbury High School does not officially name a valedictorian, Issari graduated at the top of her senior class with a 4.83 weighted grade point average. In the fall, Issari will attend Harvard, where she will major in neurobiology.
Last December, waiting for her early admission decision from Harvard, Issari did not receive an email in the afternoon, as she had expected. She assumed she hadn't gotten in, but when her acceptance letter finally came close to midnight, she ran into her parents' bedroom, screaming with joy.
"They jumped out of bed and screamed and held me," Issari recalled. "We tried to make some calming tea to get back to sleep, but it didn't work."