It's not a common occurrence when a student graduates with perfect attendance from kindergarten through high school, but two students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School will receive their diplomas next week after doing just that.
Seniors Nathaniel Matthews and Chantel Bowser have never missed a single day of school from their first day in kindergarten. Both said they resolved to make perfect attendance their goal after making it through middle school without ever missing a day.
Bowser said she was surprised to hear another student also was set to graduate with perfect attendance, because the achievement is so rare.
"I think it's a good achievement. Not very many people have completed this," Bowser said.
Matthews said there was never a day in which he was ever tempted to miss school, not even to have his tonsils removed. His procedure was scheduled during a break from school so he would not be absent from class. He said waking up early for school never bothered him.
"I've always wanted to be my best by always being at school, being able to learn," Matthews said. "I felt like it was important for me to be there to show that I'm dedicated not only to sports, but learning in school."
Bowser said she has been tempted to miss school before, back when Wal-Mart was new to Buckhannon. Bowser said she faked being sick one morning and her mother told her that if she didn't go to school she would have to stay in bed. Bowser didn't want to stay in bed and wanted to go to Wal-Mart, so when faced with a choice of staying in bed or going to school, she chose school.
Matthews was a member of the Interact club, Teen Institute and the National Honors Society. He also played basketball and baseball.
Bowser was involved in many school activities, including cheerleading, Distributive Education Clubs of America and Future Business Leaders of America, all while working a part-time job. She also said she has participated in baton twirling events with the Upshur County Baton Corps and the National Cheerleading Association.
"There were several times where I was tired because I'd practiced until nine o'clock," Bowser said. "I think it's important not to miss because then, when you go back, you have all your make-up work. It's harder to catch up on things. You need an education to have a more successful life."
Both students said they plan to continue their perfect-attendance practices learned in high school. Matthews will attend Alderson-Broaddus College in the fall, where he will study nursing. Bowser said she has not decided where she will go to further her education, but her two top choices for colleges are Waynesburg University and California University in Pennsylvania. She plans to major in communications.