Get Started

December 07, 2023

Castillo Wins Poetry Out Loud Contest

Annika Castillo (’25) earned a win in the Academy of the Holy Angels’ December 5 Poetry Out Loud dynamic recitation contest. She presented “A Poison Tree” by William Blake and “Envy” by Mary Lamb. Castillo, who is a resident of Cresskill, is now eligible for the regional POL event, which will be held February 9 at the Wanaque campus of Passaic County Community College.


See AHA’s winner in action here: AnnikaCastillo23


Judges for AHA’s event included English Department Chair Sean Hickey, School Social Worker Elizabeth Hackett, and English teacher Anna May Thurchak.


Norah Park, Annika Castillo, and Elise Tao.

Competitor Norah Park (’26) of Cresskill presented Maya Angelou’s “Awakening in New York” and A.E. Housman’s “He would not stay for me, and who can wonder.” Elise Tao (’24) of Upper Saddle River recited “An Apology for Her Poetry” by Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish and “The Gift” by Li-Young Lee.


Tao organized AHA’s Poetry Out Loud club in October of 2022 with support from English teacher Bridget Ryan. Tao is an award-winning writer who enjoys reciting her original poetry and works penned by others. She noted that her club is not large, but she is grateful for the group’s enthusiasm.


AHA’s club is part of Region 6, which includes groups based in Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic counties.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious school serves young women from many cultural and religious backgrounds.