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Academy of Holy Angels Students Recognized in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Academy of Holy Angels Students Recognized in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

All three winning students are sophomores at the Demarest, NJ prep school.


Isabella Dail of Saddle River, Natasha Dhanrajani of Bardonia, and Gian Lee of Englewood Cliffs, three students at Academy of Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ, have all won regional awards in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition for student writers and artists in seventh through 12th grades. Isabella received a Silver Key and a Gold Key (the highest regional award available). Dhanrajani won a Silver Key for her script “Broken Scribe,” and Gian received two Honorable Mentions for her writing and photography submissions. Isabella’s Gold Key will be judged on the national level and can go on to receive a National Award in May.

“My Gold Key entry is a personal essay written in a mystery format about a medical condition I experienced,” Isabella said. “I enjoyed experimenting with structure and utilizing mystery to create suspense. I am honored that my piece has been recognized at the regional level, and I am excited for it to be considered at the national level.”

Natasha explained that she fell in love with writing during her sixth grade “book phase” in which she would finish 400-600 page books in just three to four days. Beyond the honor she received for “Broken Scribe,” she just had a fourth piece published in Scrawl, a compilation of winning writing submissions from Rockland County residents. She also won a Gold Key in 2019 for her script “Hidden Identity.”

“As much as I love experimenting with these genres, I have fallen in love with dramatic scripts ever since I took a three-week acting workshop at the New York Film Academy in New York City,” she said. “In addition to perfecting our craft as actors/actresses for film, we would intensely analyze the characters, and build them from a piece of paper to real life,” Dhanrajani said. “With play scripts, you are limited to as little as one location of setting for the entire story for production purposes. With screenwriting, you can let your imagination run free.”



Gian’s poem “My Brother Shot Me in the Stomach” was inspired by a dream she had about her brother–which he later embarrassed her about in front of their friends.  

“I felt that my dream had warned me about the future by showing my brother would ‘betray’ me,” Gian said.

All three girls are sophomores at Academy of Holy Angels and are active members of the school community, participating in Angels on Air, the AHA newspaper and literary magazines, athletics, and more extracurriculars. To learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and how to enter–and to see a list of national award winners come June–visit the Awards website. Students who win National Gold Medals or Special Achievement Awards will be honored at Carnegie Hall at a special ceremony in June.

Main Image: Natasha, Isabella, and Gian. Courtesy Jennifer Crusco

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is an assistant editor and a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. When she's not focused on writing special needs and education features, you can find her petting someone else's dog. See More

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