by Diana Cook
It’s generally no easy feat to get teenagers going in the morning but with some incentive, and perhaps an internal drive, many students get to school most days and some kids actually do make it to school every single day of their educational life.
While it’s not a constant, there are actually years when members of the graduating class meet certain requirements for “Perfect attendance”.
There are sometimes one or more who achieve perfect attendance during their four years of high school, and every now and then a student comes along who has managed, what many might consider near impossible, a record that includes school attendance for their entire 13 years of education.
The graduating class of 2011 was definitely an achievement year for ‘perfect attendance’, with special attendance awards presented at the graduation ceremony on June 25.
Four students received Senior Keys for Perfect Attendance, for their four years of high school attendance. The recipients of these gold keys were John Gilmore, Kaylee May, Anthony Richardson, and Leah Sawyer.
One young man also received special recognition at the graduation for his perfect attendance over 13 years.
“Many before him have not been able to conquer this quest,” said the presenter, “He has not missed a day of school for 13 years; from kindergarten through his entire senior year!”, before they went on to introduce “Mr. Brian Doooooolittle!”
Doolittle rose from his seat at the graduation ceremony, with a look of satisfaction on his face, and the audience went wild with applause for his accomplishment!! He received a “Perfect Attendance” gold key of his own and a very special Phoenix Firebirds hooded sweatshirt, additionally embroidered with his last name on the back.
After graduation was over and students were asked about the achievement, honor, and intentionality of reaching such a milestone, the answers were varied.
For Gilmore, it was planned... a goal that revolved around sports. “If you weren’t in school, you couldn’t participate,” he said. A participant in football, basketball and track, wanting to play made it important for him to be there.
May has also been involved in sports. She played soccer and basketball and was also a member of the outdoor track and field team. Her viewpoint that “It’s so hard to make up work if you miss it,” is what kept May on track and in class every day.
When asked if her achievement had been intentional, Sawyer said, “Not at first, but after the first year, it kind of became a goal.” Sawyer felt it was rewarding to some extent but she also came down on the side of health and safety. “If you are sick, you really should stay home,” she said.
Richardson didn’t really set this perfect attendance as a goal but says he is “never sick”, definitely something to appreciate and value in its resulting award.
Doolittle says the same thing - he’s hardly sick - but also had a lot of incentive to be in school along the way, since there are school attendance requirements surrounding many extra-curricular activities.
He played modified soccer at the middle school, ran track in 10th grade and in more recent years has maintained a strong and persistent devotion to Drama Club, appearing in several productions.
Doolittle has also been committed to various roles with high school television production, including “The Questionnaire Show with Brian Doolittle”.
All five students have alot to be proud of in their “Perfect Attendance” awards. Not only does it give a pat on the back for rising up and getting to the day, but it also reinforces an important lesson ... in life, sometimes just ‘being there’ is what it takes for success.