Maryland Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman delivered the commencement speech at The Highlands School’s 2023 graduation ceremony on Friday, May 26th. Lierman is the 34th Comptroller of the state of Maryland and the first woman to be independently elected to one of Maryland’s constitutional offices. She is an attorney by training, practicing as a civil rights and disability rights lawyer for many years, and prior to her election as Comptroller, she served for 8 years a member of the House of Delegates representing part of Baltimore City.
Located in Bel Air, The Highlands School is a K-8 independent school that educates students with learning differences and achievement gaps. As The Highlands School phases out its high school to focus on its K-8 program, the class of 2023 was its penultimate graduating class. In her speech, Lierman focused the keys to a successful life: being kind, trying hard, having fun, and being you, a message that resonated with The Highlands School’s audience.
Excerpts from Comptroller Lierman’s speech as delivered:
Part of The Highlands School’s motto is discovering yourself. If you already knew who you were, you wouldn’t have to spend time discovering yourself. It can be tough to be you if you don’t know who you are. You never finish finding out who you are. You just keep learning, that’s because you keep changing.
Being you and discovering yourself is finding out what you want to do with your life. One thing I wish someone told me is that you may not figure that out right away. I know you’re each doing different things and you’ll all do different things as you get older. There will also be setbacks.
None of my career would have happened if not for a huge setback that I had faced. I had five jobs in five years before going to law school. I learned at every job that I was in, I made friends, and met great mentors all along the way. Each job took me closer to where I needed to be. Each job helped me discover what the music that I wanted to dance to throughout life sounded like.
Find the music that you love, and you will be able to be kind, try hard, have fun, and be you in all the work that you are doing in the life you are leading. It may not be easy to find that music, but if you keep working at it you will.
I conclude by reminding you to enjoy the journey. The value of a journey is not just in finding the destination, but also embracing the journey itself. I did not become the first woman Comptroller of Maryland because I thought at age 18 that I was going to become Comptroller, I didn’t even know that we had a Comptroller at age 18. The journey along the way has been amazing, and it has enabled me to be, hopefully, a wonderful Comptroller serving the people of Maryland.
“We were honored to have Comptroller Lierman as this year’s commencement speaker,” said Head of School Claudia Nachtigal. “Her ultra-inspiring message left the crowd in awe. We could not have asked for a better speaker for one of our last graduation ceremonies. Comptroller Lierman left our graduates feeling ready to take on the world!”
The four students in this year’s graduating class are:
· Marcus Camacho
· Aaron Ditto
· Dallas Jasinski
· Justin Moretz
About The Highlands School
The Highlands School is an AIMS-accredited school that specializes in educating students with learning differences and achievement gaps. Founded in 1996, The Highlands School was originally located in Street, Maryland. In 2007, The Highlands School moved to a beautiful 18-acre campus in Bel Air, Maryland that was once home to the Preakness-winning racehorse Deputed Testamony.