By Isabella Lenarduzzi
Kings Park High School
T’Neil Gooden is striving to become the first person in her family to pursue a writing-based career in journalism.
T’Neil is a 17-year-old rising senior at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences in Brooklyn.
Alysia Charles, a friend of T’Neil’s, explains that, “T’Neil truly has a way with words, which is evident if you read her writing. With her persistence I feel she would go far in journalism.”
T’Neil talked about her love of reading, with her favorite book being Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch. Not only does T’Neil love reading, she pays close attention to all things she reads, revealing that she has a long-running note on her phone where she keeps track of quotes that she finds throughout her day that are important to her.
She also said her favorite movie is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is a movie that heavily focuses on a character who loves literature and at the same time is figuring out who he is and what his place is in the society that he lives in.
T’Neil reflects that after coming to New York from Jamaica, she “felt really out of place [in this] new environment because it was so populated [but] as the years went on I started to come out of my shell.”
In watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this feeling of loneliness or separation from the crowd may not have been a new feeling to her, and she may have felt a connection to this story for this reason, as well as because of her love of literature.
Similar to the main character of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, T’Neil’s favorite teacher she has had to date is her freshman year English teacher, Mr. Oleson. This teacher ultimately inspired her interest in writing and journalism.
When she’s at school T’Neil is not heavily involved in any sort of journalism programs but she is still very interested in her school’s academics and extracurriculars. T’Neil is part of her school’s Black Student Union and she created a club called Future Preparation Club, which works to help her fellow students become prepared for college and life beyond high school.
T’Neil’s interest in journalism also stems from years of watching the news every morning and night with her family. This constant exposure led to her interest in becoming a broadcast journalist for a cable TV network.
In terms of what she’d like from the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, T’Neil said, “the one thing that I want to gain is exposure and more of an understanding [of what journalism is]. You watch YouTube videos of what journalism is but nothing is really specific enough for me to [know] this is what I want to do.”