Danae Bucci led Saturday’s 6 p.m. WCVB television newscast, at the scene of a serious house fire in Somerville (https://www.wcvb.com/article/somerville-massachusetts-house-fire-walker-street/43355961).
A few hours earlier – wearing the same checked coat – she was at Bedford High School, her alma mater, addressing more than 100 students as the keynote speaker for the seventh annual middle school Tenacity Challenge.
The event is an academic competition for teams of seventh and eighth grade Latinex and African-American students from urban and suburban middle schools.
Bucci graduated from BHS in 2015 and as a general assignment reporter on a major Boston TV station, she is one of the school’s most recognized alumni.
She shared her story with the participants, and her message was clear: “Believe in yourself,” and “find mentors, people to invest in your success.”
Bucci, who lived with her mother at Hanscom Air Force Base, was the third best scholastic female high-jumper in the country in the spring of her senior year. She enrolled at Northeastern University with an athletic scholarship and had visions of the Olympics in her future.
But an injury ended her career in track and field, and Bucci described how she pivoted, focusing on academics and work experience in communications. She said as an undergraduate she totaled eight cooperative workplaces, internships, and clubs.
After graduation, her first job on the air was with a station in Savannah, GA, where she covered the racially-motivated murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA, and the arrest, trial, and conviction of three men (www.wjcl.com/article/some-potential-jurors-selected-in-ahmaud-arbery-trial/39006304#).
That national story catapulted her to prominence, and she joined the WCVB news team about a year ago.
Only in her mid-twenties, Bucci told the Tenacity participants, “It’s still surreal. I still can’t believe I’m on the Channel 5 news five days a week.”
Bucci praised the Tenacity Challenge as an opportunity to work as teams. “It’s great to be at an event like this,” she declared.
The 21 teams represented 12 middle schools between Dracut and Walpole, including five from Bedford’s John Glenn Middle School. The high school Tenacity Challenge is scheduled for April 29 at BHS.