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Family and friend congratulate Natalie Lopez, center, for her Outstanding Senior award at Horizon Science Academy - McKinley Park..

Horizon Senior Lauded as Top Charter School Student Statewide

Published January 24, 2023

Natalie Lopez, a senior at Horizon Science Academy – McKinley Park, has been named as one of the top charter high school students in the state by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) in its Excellence Awards.

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Friends, family, teachers and staff surprised Lopez with an announcement and reception at the school.

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“Natalie is a special person who has made a significant impact at our school,” wrote Horizon teacher and softball coach JD Koziarski. “She constantly amazes me with her work ethic, her dedication to improving, and with her commitment.”

Scholarship and Extracurriculars

Horizon Science Academy senor Natalie Lopez shows her surprise at the announcement for her award.Horizon Science Academy senior Natalie Lopez shows her surprise at the announcement for her award.The INCS Charter Excellence Awards are held annually and laud the top students, teachers and administrators at charter schools statewide. Three other Illinois students were named along with Lopez as Outstanding Seniors.

Lopez thanked and acknowledged her teachers at Horizon for the support they’ve given her. “I wouldn’t be as successful without all of them,” she said.

Koziarski noted Lopez’s outstanding scholarship at Horizon alongside her long list of extracurriculars and leadership positions. These include student council treasurer, director and mentor on the school’s robotics teams, and varsity captain and 10u coach for softball teams.

Helping Younger Students

“She has gravitated toward helping the younger generation of students at our school,” Koziarski said. “She is upbeat and positive and has struck the difficult balance of motivating her teammates and holding them accountable.”

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Post-secondary education beckons for Lopez, who has set her sights on schools like University of Michigan, New York University, University of North Carolina, Loyola University and DePaul University.

Hard Work Pays Off

Lopez is interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, she said.

“I am excited to see what she will do next,” Koziarski said.

Lopez thanked everyone for their support and the INCS for receiving the award. “It feels great that all that hard work paid off,” she said.

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