Carleage Perez celebrates her win for Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior at Horizon Science Academy - McKinley Park's media breakfast on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

Robotics Whiz Named Top Charter School Senior in Illinois

Published December 3, 2021

Leadership, academic excellence and civic engagement are reasons why Carleage Perez, a senior at Horizon Science Academy - McKinley Park, is the Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior as awarded from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Her work received recognition and applause at a media breakfast at the school on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

 
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"I am very grateful and happy to have won," Perez said. "Winning the award was a pleasant surprise."

 
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Perez is the executive director of the school's Hawks on the Horizon robotics team, spending up to 20 hours per week managing the team, its members and its regular competitions. She moved into this role after three years working within the multi-disciplinary team, which must pull together mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and software design to build winning robots from the ground up.

Sports On- and Off-Screen

Carleagle Perez group Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior Horizon Science Acacemy 20211118Joining top robot Jabanoodles at the November 18, 2021, media breakfast are, from left to right, robotics teacher Sravan Suryadevara, Cristina Perez Romero, Carleagle Perez, Horizon Science Academy Principal Seat Vedziovski, charter network Program Coordinator Natalia Blanco and Concept Schools Chief Strategic Growth & Communications Officer Dr. Christopher Murphy.Perez has also jumped into leadership for Horizon's eSports program, which started up over the past year. As general manager, she's been organizing practices, recruiting competitors and defining this brand-new role at the school as she works within it.

Top real-world sports for Perez are softball and volleyball, which she's been playing for the past four years, most recently as libero and wing spiker on the volleyball court.

College, Then FBI

Perez said she has currently applied to four out of the 10 colleges she's targeting, with help from college applications resources at the school. Her chosen submitted major is psychology, she said.

 
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"Eventually, I want to get my Ph.D. in psychology," she said, "to work as a forensic/behavioral analysis psychologist for the FBI."

A statement from the school noted Perez's ongoing and constant volunteering on school and neighborhood projects. "Her actions are not to seek recognition, but the result of a selfless desire to help make her community better," the statement said.

U.S. News and World Report

Horizon and charter school network officials also announced at the media breakfast that the school, which educates Kindergartners through high school seniors, had been named the No. 1 charter elementary and middle school in Illinois by the U.S. News and World Report publication.

 
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In its ranking for the Best Elementary Charter Schools in Illinois, U.S. News and World Report placed Horizon Science Academy - McKinley Park at the top of its list, as it did for its list of Best Charter Middle Schools in Illinois. Horizon also placed in the top 25 charter high school programs, according to the publication.

Carleagle Perez mom Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior Horizon Science Acacemy 20211118Carleage Perez and her mother, Cristina Perez Romero, celebrate winning the Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior award at Horizon Science Academy's media breakfast on November 18, 2021.


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