CaitlinBrannigan_headshotCaitlin Brannigan

First Place Story

Caitlin Brannigan is a junior at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ. As a child, she wrote stories about her favorite TV shows using markers and pieces of printer paper. Her love of writing broadened in sixth grade, when she began writing stories with her friends. She enjoys all kinds of writing, especially short stories, although she has recently developed a comparable interest in poetry. She is the recipient of the Sister Nonna Dunphy Scholarship and the Sister Catherine Green Kindness Award. In school, she participates in Blueprint Literary Magazine, Writers’ Society, and Concert Choir. She is also co-president of Psychology Club. She is a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Science National Honor Society, and National Spanish Honor Society. Outside of school, she is a Church Lector, CCD co-catechist, and a volunteer one-on-one camp counselor working with special needs kids. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, playing piano, and knitting. She is very grateful for the support she has received from her family, friends, teachers, and peers. She is honored to receive a Governor’s Award.


The Calamity of Freedom by Caitlin Brannigan

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

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The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.