Academy of the Holy Angels senior, Kaya Simmons just published her first book, “Lost Words,” a collection of her original poems, some of which she wrote before entering her senior year.
Her raw, emotional works explore unrequited love, unspoken words, and perfect endings.
When asked about the title she chose, Simmons referred to the dedication page, which reads, “To all those with whom I have no words left to say.” She added, “Those are the lost words.”
Simmons acknowledged that people sometimes leave us when words still need to be said.
This summer, she decided to assemble her poems into a book and had the paperback volume self-published through Amazon.
At Holy Angels, Simmons explores her interests in writing, track, and soccer in her post as a sports editor for AHA Voice, the school newspaper. In addition, one of her narratives will be published.
Simmons explained that she has been applying for scholarships to pursue writing and photography in college. After becoming a finalist for one of the awards, she learned that the narrative she wrote would be featured in the organization’s annual book.
In her hometown of West Orange, this active young woman participates in a community-wide environmental initiative. Simmons explained that she visits local schools and parks and picks up trash and litter. She then transforms her work into art.
“I take pictures of each individual piece of trash and edit them together into a symbolic picture,” Simmons said, indicating a photo she created using images of her town hall and a lightbulb. “The lightbulb represents my town because Thomas Edison's museum factory is our main attraction so we, West Orange, use that as a symbol. Therefore, I placed that in front of town hall in the photo to show the power the litter has over every member of our community.”
Simmons’ love for learning has taken her to some of the world’s best colleges and universities. This student has taken a crime scene investigation course at Brown University and a photography class at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
She also attended AHA’s study abroad program at Oxford University, where she took a bespoke course in critical thinking and oral presentation.
Simmons maintains a stellar grade point average of 95 or higher and recently earned a bronze medal for her performance on the Level II National Spanish Exam.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (Math) Honor Society.
Simmons has been active with the Student Council since her freshman year and is now vice president of the Class of 2021. She is also the executive secretary for the AHA Black and Hispanic Cultural Society.
She works with Relay for Life to fundraise for cancer research and volunteers at her church as a children’s ministry leader.