Veronica Threadgill, a native New Yorker, finds much to love about the city: the Metropolitan Museum, Lincoln Center, Coney Island, the Promenade in Brooklyn with its view of the river, yet she is also keenly aware that New York’s cultural riches are enjoyed by a small fraction of the people who live there. “The sad fact,” she says, “is that, in a city so diverse, so full of culture, far too many children lead insular lives.”
While Veronica is fond of her Brooklyn neighborhood, she appreciates the diversity and wealth of opportunities she has experienced by attending Hunter College High School, a school for intellectually gifted students in Manhattan. She joined the Chinese chess club, heard the Polish Festival Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and learned about Jewish holidays. Veronica also took up fencing, a sport that requires speed, agility, strength, and finesse. By her own account, and that of her teachers, she became a “mildly obsessed but fearless fencer.”
In the classroom, Veronica excelled in the all-honors curriculum and developed her talent as a writer of short stories and poetry. “Most of my stories are science fiction or fantasy,” she reports, “but I use my poetry when I want to deal with reality.” Her work has appeared in Hunter publications and in anthologies of the Poetry Guild and the International Library of Poetry. Veronica served as a staff writer and managing editor of her school’s culture magazine.
Because of her abiding interest in children, Veronica’s community service and employment activities have taken place in day care centers and summer camps where she has held six-year-olds spellbound with her inspired readings of Shel Silverstein’s poetry. In her last year of high school she did a teaching internship in a seventh grade French class.
When asked by the Ron Brown Scholar Selection Committee to design a program that would improve her community, Veronica proposed a project aimed at reducing the insularity of children in New York City neighborhoods. By bringing children of diverse backgrounds together to share their cultural heritage in experiential ways, and by taking advantage of the city’s many resources, she would hope to enrich their lives and reduce the ignorance that leads to intolerance.