Jordan Lee likes to think big.
Foreign correspondent. Diplomat. Political commentator.
And when the world is your classroom, what else would you expect?
The Spokane teen already has seen much of the world, experiencing the leisure side of travel as well as the working end, attending international business meetings with her father, undertaking a communications internship in China, and attending corporate seminars in India.
Along the way, she maintained a 3.8 grade-point average and completed extracurricular music, language and athletic programs. She also served as an opinion writer for The Spokesman-Review’s student-produced newspaper, The Vox, writing about feminism, abortion, swearing and sweatshops.
Lee is among the 17 seniors at the Oaks Christian Academy in Spokane Valley who will celebrate graduation Friday. She has attended the school since fifth grade and was home-schooled prior to that.
Now she looks toward a collegiate experience at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism starting later this year. And when she speaks of her future possibilities they include languages, world travel, journalism, politics and commentary.
“I want to be a good conservative voice in the media because I think we don’t have enough. I would like to someday have an influence,” says Lee, who says travel has inspired her partly because she’s been able to observe up close the mindset and determination of young adults across the globe.
“I’ve been lucky to be able to travel and I think traveling has shaped me,” says the 18-year-old. “I don’t have such a clear idea for a career, but I know CNN would be something to shoot for – or Fox … possibly based in Asia, the Middle East, or Africa.”
Lee is the eldest of six children to Lewis and Sarah Lee. She travels with her family and often with her patent-attorney father on business trips. She developed a particular interest in China following her family’s adoption of two Chinese orphans four years ago. Since then she has been determined to learn the culture and language. She attended language classes at Gonzaga University last year and is now taking private lessons.
“Whether Jordan ends up in broadcasting in China, or uses her knowledge of Chinese language and culture stateside, I look forward to watching her future unfold,” says Lynn Gibson, the Oaks director of college counseling. “She has made her mark upon our school as an example to our students of one who reaches far beyond the confines of geography and language to explore new cultures and ideas.”
Lee’s Chinese siblings are the youngest of the Lee children and all attend the Oaks, which is a K-12 school with 285 students currently enrolled.
“Even though (my school) is small and a little bit sheltering, it’s taught me to seek after knowledge – because of certain teachers who have had an influence on me,” says Lee.
Lee’s writing for The Vox provided opportunity to articulate her opinions.
“I loved that experience,” she says, noting that it also gave her opportunities to interact with others her age who held different views on various topics.
The Oaks Principal Bruce Williams says Lee is very capable of holding her own when it comes to conversation and debate, be it about international affairs, U.S. foreign relations, or Christianity.
“She likes to have more than casual conversation,” Williams said. “She is a driven and independent young lady. She has strong convictions in areas she believes in and she doesn’t waver.”
Williams also describes this year’s senior class as driven. And no doubt Lee has influenced that.
“The kids do well academically each year,” he said. “There are students going to upper-tier schools – typically that is not the case. One student was accepted to Harvard and Stanford, one to St. Louis. Jordan is going to USC. The class is driven and they know where they want to go.”
Williams has had a particularly close relationship with this year’s senior class as his son is among the graduating students.
“There are 15 girls and two boys,” he noted. “Do I need to say anything more?”
His advice for all seniors as they embark on the next chapter in their lives is straightforward and direct: “The first thing that definitely comes to mind is that they keep their eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. And if they do that, they will do fine in life.”
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