MONTEZUMA – Don’t rush life. Know that your career will take twists and turns. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges.
Those are just a few words of advice offered by Emma Tucker, the Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief, to the 118 students that made up the United World College-USA’s class of 2023.
Tucker, from London, was herself a graduate nearly 40 years ago from the two-year boarding school in Montezuma, New Mexico, that now hosts more than 200 students from 95 different countries. On Saturday, she served as the keynote speaker at the UWC-USA graduation.
“Say ‘yes’ to opportunities that scare the living daylights out of you,” Tucker said in her address. “It’s very, very easy to stay in our comfort zones, but here’s the thing – the people above you who offer you chances, want you to succeed.”
Tucker was also the school’s Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award winner – which honors past graduates that demonstrate “the values of a UWC education on a local, national or global community scale.”
Finding out she won the award – named after a former graduate of the school who died in Egypt as he was researching the formation of independent trade unions – was a bittersweet moment for Tucker. It came on the same day one of her reporters, Evan Gershkovich, was detained in Russia on espionage charges.
“Today, all over the world, the sad truth is that it is getting harder and more dangerous for people like Giulio and Evan to do their jobs safely,” Tucker said during her 10-minute speech. “And this is something we should all care about – an independent press, the right to report freely, to hold those in power to account is a cornerstone of democracy.”
Wing Hei Natalie Lau, a 2023 graduate from Hong Kong, wants to become a lawyer or journalist, like Tucker.
She plans to study humanities at the University of Toronto.
“I think when you look at the world, in such tumultuous times, I (see) journalism as a way to do good for the world,” she said.