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Rodriguez Named Student Laureate, Honored at State Ceremony

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NLU Early Childhood undergrad Hortencia Rodriguez, wearing medallion with red ribbon, was given the honor of Student Laureate by Illinois’ Lincoln Academy, a non-profit. A ceremony took place Nov. 1 in Springfield. Also pictured are Hortencia’s daughter at left, NLU’s Ayn Keneman, Ed.D., right, and Hortencia’s mother.

Hortencia Rodriguez, an NLU early childhood undergraduate, was recognized as a Student Laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during a ceremony Nov. 1st at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield. Hortencia was one of 52 students in Illinois to receive this honor. This is the 40th year Lincoln Academy, a non-profit organization, celebrated students’ excellence in Illinois.

The Lincoln Academy’s Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in Illinois. At the Student Laureate Convocation, Hortencia received a Student Laureate Medallion, along with a certificate of achievement and an educational grant of $1,000.

“These students have exhibited a personal commitment to excel as seen by their remarkable academic accomplishments,” said Thomas S. Johnson, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy, who added, “They serve as role models to other Illinois students. With hard-working and dedicated young leaders such as these, Illinois and the rest of the nation can look forward to a bright future.”

Ayn Keneman, Ed.D., of NLU’s Early Childhood program, and NLU’s Dr. Virginia Jagla, Ph.D.,  nominated Hortencia for this award.  Keneman said, “Hortencia’s passion for children, teaching and learning is evident in all her communication and she is deserving of this honor as a future Early Childhood educator.” Dr. Keneman attended the award ceremony with Hortencia’s mother and daughter. Hortencia as one of eleven children in her family was ecstatic to be honored in Springfield.

After the ceremony, all nominees and their families were invited to the governor’s mansion for a lunch in their honor. It was an exciting and wonderful celebration ending an extraordinary day for Hortencia and her family.