Chicago Senior Tops in Statewide Excellence Awards

This article was first published by McKinley Park News, Justin Kerr,  Publisher of McKinley Park News.
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) Charter School Excellence Awards spotlight high-achieving students and staff at schools statewide, including four students to graduate in 2024 each named an Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior.
“Havilyn is the perfect candidate for this award,” said JD Koziarski, Horizon’s athletic director. “She has made a significant impact on our school. This award is recognition of all those accomplishments.”

Quiet Determination

Koziarski noted Aitken’s academic achievements, leadership within the school, deep involvement in extracurricular activities and sports, and helming initiatives like a blood drive that reached out from the school to help the community.

“What’s most impressive about Havilyn is her determination,” Koziarski said, telling how she initially struggled as a freshman volleyball player, but soon rose to captain the junior varsity team and then move to varsity girls volleyball.

“This is how Havilyn approaches everything, with quiet determination and a will to improve,” he said.

Be a Doctor

Aitken, a lifelong Chicago resident, said she plans to attend college after graduation and has applied to many schools for undergraduate study.

“I want to be a doctor,” she said. “Maybe a pediatric surgeon.”

Koziarski said Aitken’s high GPA, National Honor Society and Honor Roll inductions, and stratospheric SAT test score have inspired application to top universities, including Ivy League schools like Princeton, Harvard and Yale.

Top SAT Scores

Assistant Principal Mersad Imamovic noted how Horizon Science Academy recently became the top Illinois charter high school for SAT scores, supported by in-class curriculum and special student programs like “SAT Saturday” sessions.

Aitken credited Horizon Science Academy and its staff for supporting her academic and personal achievements.

“This school really helped me get out of my shell,” she said.

“Havilyn is a special person who has made a significant impact at our school and in all our lives,” Koziarski said. “I am confident that she will succeed in her future endeavors.”