Albuquerque high schooler recognized for academics, activism

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local high school student is no stranger to the spotlight, having been covered by national and local publications in recent years for her activism here in New Mexico. Now, the state is recognizing her for her work.

Emese Nagy is not your average high schooler. “Senior year in a different country, speaking a different language,” Nagy said.

She and her mom moved here from Hungary in 2013. Now, the Amy Biehl High School senior is at the top of her class. She will be the first student from the school to graduate with an associate’s degree in May. She is also the first student there to be awarded the Charter Student of the Year award from the Public Charter Schools of New Mexico. “The potential has always been inside me, but it took coming halfway around the world, meeting a completely different group of people, and living a completely different life to bring out that potential in me,” Nagy said.

She said her late teacher, Richard Ledesma, introduced her to the issue of climate change which inspired her activism work throughout high school. “It is my way of honoring his memory and passing on what he taught me,” Nagy said.

She’s gotten involved with several organizations like Fight for Our Lives and leading a schoolwide climate strike in 2019. “She is one of those rate students that the staff and students look up to,” Director of College Engagement Matt Kraus said.

Kraus said he has been moved by Nagy’s work the past two years, getting younger students at the school involved in social justice issues so it doesn’t end when she graduates. “As dark of times as we are in, working with students like her make me optimistic about the future,” Kraus said.

Nagy said she’s gone from being a timid girl from Hungary to one with confidence living the American dream. “When I look in the mirror, I see the person I have always wanted to be,” Nagy said.

Nagy applied to many schools in New York and Washington D.C., ready to pursue a career in international relations and foreign affairs.

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