EXCLUSIVE TO THE VALLEY PATRIOT
Hello Valley Patriot Readers,
Recently, I had the honor of delivering the commencement address to the Class of 2023 at my alma mater, Middlesex Community College. It was a beautiful day celebrating all of the hard work, tireless efforts and sacrifices made by the graduates, their families, and friends.
As a proud Middlesex graduate myself, it is important to me to work toward ensuring that all families – no matter where we come from, what we look like, or what our bank balance is – have access and opportunities to succeed. I am grateful to have the opportunity I have now, as State Auditor, to continue to focus on carrying out that mission to help shine a light on areas of our state government systems that might not be as equitable or transparent as they should be to everyday people.
After I graduated from Middlesex, I didn’t know my experience would help lead me to the path of being the state’s top government watchdog.
Looking back on my experience, it wasn’t an easy ride from high school to Middlesex – in fact, I wasn’t very focused on my academics at all. I was just trying to get by and stay on the right path. Eventually, my path led me to take courses at Middlesex, while simultaneously waitressing and cleaning people’s houses to pay the bills. Once on the right path, I recognized the importance of surrounding myself with positive influences to keep myself strong, focused, and disciplined.
I knew it was my responsibility to fight like hell for other working families in our communities who have also been dismissed, ignored, or disenfranchised by a system in our government that’s still not working for all families the way that it could and the way that it should.
I fought for what I believed was right, worked hard, ignored the haters, and eventually became the youngest woman serving in the Senate. Now, I’m your State Auditor – currently the youngest statewide constitutional officer.
My message to every graduate is that your degree or certificate is not a gift – you worked hard to earn it. You’ve battled your own personal challenges, jumped over hurdles no one else knows about, and fought to get across the finish line. Some graduates are surrounded by love and encouragement, while others may have felt alone in their endeavor. Regardless of where you are along this journey – I’m cheering for you. Your neighbors are cheering for you. Our community is cheering for you.
My message to graduates this season is to persevere. I have five principles that I hope encourage you on your journey:
1. Fail or Fall Forward – this is a lesson I originally learned from the great leadership guru John Maxwell. Do what you know in your heart you’re being called to do – without being attached to the outcome. Let go of the fear of losing or the fear of falling on your face. And when you do fall, just make sure you’re falling forward – by getting up and looking to your next opportunity.
2. Forgive – People ask me all the time how I wake up and go to work at the place that fired me with powerful politicians who still want to get rid of me. My honest response is forgiveness – daily. Be sure to set boundaries because you are no one’s doormat and deserve respect.
3. Feed your body, mind, and soul with good – Healthy food increases our physical abilities while junk food decreases them. So, check your social interactions and the content you’re allowing yourself to absorb to make sure it’s bringing your spirit up and not down.
4. Be a survivor – don’t stay a victim – None of us can control our circumstances enough to completely avoid hurt, loss, and heartbreak. But we all get to decide how we respond.
5. Choose your words wisely – because we are who we say we are.
Graduates, I believe – with all my heart – in you. You are strong. You’ve got grit. You’re intelligent, determined, and resilient.
Congratulations to all the graduates of the Class of 2023 – you did it!
As always, feel free to contact me anytime via email at email@example.com or by phone at (617) 727-2075. If you’re ever in the State House, I hope you’ll stop by and visit our team in room 230!
Yours in service,