Kate Nocera ’01 Presents Cum Laude Keynote

The former political reporter offered advice on the dos and don'ts of a successful career

23855136824_b5fee16222_zThere was a point during Kate Nocera’s time at the Williston Northampton School when it was doubtful that she would even graduate.

In her keynote address for this year’s Cum Laude Ceremony, Ms. Nocera, a former political journalist, talked about how she went from a fixture in the Dean of Student’s Office, to accepting her diploma with Cum Laude honors.

“My actual favorite memory from Williston was being at graduation and hearing them calling the names of the Cum Laude inductees, and hearing my name among them,” Ms. Nocera recalled.

The Cum Laude ceremony, which honors 12 seniors who have excelled academically, was held on Friday, January 16, at 8:30 a.m. in the Phillips Stevens Chapel.

24401035951_b2504efe59_zThe Cum Laude Society, founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, honors scholastic achievement in secondary schools. The society has 382 chapters, with the majority in independent schools. In 1921, Williston Academy became a member of the society, followed by Northampton School for Girls in 1951. In 1971, a new charter was created for the Williston Northampton School.

Inducted into the society on Friday were seniors Leeanna Albanese, Caroline Borden, Samuel Canney, Maitri Dalal, Tanmay Khale, Josephine King, Sarah Lucia, Haley McCreary, Elizabeth Sheline, Calvin Ticknor-Swanson, Margaret White, and Theodore Wolfe.

Ms. Nocera ’01 has worked as a congressional journalist for BuzzFeed and POLITICO, as a reporter for the New York Daily News, and as a political consultant for SKDKnickerbocker. She is currently at Vox Creative, Vox Media’s integrated creative group. Ms. Nocera received her bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

24483385835_2cee372479_zOn Friday, Ms. Nocera talked about her career as a reporter, including interviews with Bernie Sanders and John Boehner, and how she’s learned from her Williston days.

“What I learned then— and what I am still learning now—is that you build your life one day at a time,” she said. “You make a lot of choices and you learn from them. Other people in your life help you in expected—and unexpected—ways.”

Read Ms. Nocera’s full speech here. 

Editor’s note: The article was amended following Friday’s ceremony to include the names of the seniors honored. A video of the ceremony will be posted on the school’s You Tube channel next week. 

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