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Perfect attendance; a 13-year accomplishment

Nikki Taylor

Perfect attendance for even one year is quite an accomplishment, but making it 13 years (including kindergarten) without missing a day of school is truly amazing.
Nikki Taylor, Alanna Williams and Elizabeth Tucker, all 2009 UCPS graduates, have finished their high school careers, and stand ready to begin the next phase of their lives; but one thing they all have in common – not once in 13 years did any of them get marked absent for a cold, a family vacation or even senior skip day.
Taylor, 18, a Piedmont High School graduate, began classes Monday (August 17, 2009) at South Piedmont Community College with plans of being a diagnostic medical sonographer. Williams and Tucker, both 18, graduated from Forest Hills High School, but have very different goals for their futures.
Williams will begin attending Wingate University next week, (August 24, 2009) with plans of majoring in physical education and ultimately going into public education. She hopes to one day be a principal. Tucker will continue a long-standing family tradition of serving her country in the United States Armed Forces. She will begin this journey in early 2010 in basic training in San Antonio, Texas, pursuing a career in military intelligence in the United States Air Force.
Even though each young woman is very different from the other, they all share a passion for getting a good education.
 â€œI made myself get up and go,” Alanna said. “I didn’t have the option to stay at home. My parents value an education and I guess I caught that same attitude. I didn’t want to miss school. I made it my goal to have perfect attendance.”
“I would see kids skipping class, getting sick and staying out,” Elizabeth said. “I never got sick that much. I was very fortunate to be healthy. I tried to not miss any school. It’s important. When kids are out of school, they miss important classes and can never catch up. I never wanted to be one of those kids who lagged behind.”

Alanna Williams

Nikki had similar thoughts. “You don’t get lost in classes because you always know what’s going on,” she said. “You can never really fall behind. And it’s something you can say you did that not many people your age has ever done before.”
Nikki, the daughter of Johnny and Susie Taylor, from Monroe, said she is very proud of her accomplishment, but didn’t start out knowing she would one day have the honor. She had never thought about having perfect attendance until in the seventh grade.
“That’s when it hit me that I had never missed a day of school,” Nikki said. “I thought, ‘hey this is pretty cool. Not many people can do that’.”

That’s when it became a personal challenge to continue her perfect record. When she got to high school, that record remained intact. “I thought, ‘I’ve only got four more years. If I can do it this far, I can do it for the rest of high school’.”
For Alanna, the daughter of Bobby and Carol Williams from Marshville, not missing a day was a goal throughout her educational career, and became even more important in high school. “I don’t think all children have the opportunity to get the education we do in Union County and in this country,” she said. “If you’ve got the ability to learn, you should learn. Some people don’t have that ability.”

  Elizabeth Tucker

Elizabeth, said her father, Kevin Tucker from Marshville, played a role in her decision to not miss a day of school. “Students who have perfect attendance; it shows that they’re responsible and committed, and I don’t think a lot of teens these days are that committed. They may be able to commit to something for a couple of months, but then something else will get their attention. My dad always told me I had the potential to be the best and to strive for the best.”

Elizabeth showed her father and her peers that she could do just that when she graduated from Forest Hills with honors. Having perfect attendance was only part of that journey, but it showed that these three UCPS students had the strength of character to dedicate themselves to something they believed in. That attitude will continue to help them meet the challenges that the future will bring.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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