9 who shine: ISS student heads to Northeast

When she was 10 years old, Veronica Ciniglio unwrapped the best Christmas present she ever received — a Princeton University sweatshirt and cap.

The orange and black cap has since succumbed to years of wear and tear, but Ciniglio will pack it with the rest of her belongings when she heads to Princeton this fall.

The soon-to-be Indian Springs School alumna, who plans to major in history, is the first person in her family to attend college. She is the oldest of six children, and she wants to be an example to her younger siblings.

“My mother didn’t finish high school, so she pushed me to learn and she pushed me to want to learn,” Ciniglio said. “This is a big step forward toward what my family wants to be.”

Attending Princeton has presented a lot of firsts for Ciniglio. She recently took her first plane trip to New Jersey to tour the campus and acquaint herself with professors. She’s excited about moving north, but nervous about living outside her native Alabama.

“That for me is going to be difficult,” she said. “I’m a little worried about the cold weather too, but I’m knitting some scarves and some hats to keep myself warm.”

Ciniglio plans to stay busy at Princeton, just as she did at ISS. She was co-editor of the yearbook, co-founder of the ISS Bridge Club, co-president of the ISS Latin Club, student government education commissioner and an actor and stage manager for ISS Theater Productions.

Ciniglio was also recently named a 2009 National Merit Scholar. This is only a short list of her achievements.

“It’s tough,” Ciniglio said of juggling her priorities. “But I’ve never been involved in an activity I didn’t feel passionate about.”