Konawaena HighSchool, Hawaii (Wikicommons)Since kindergarten, 17-year-old high-school senior Ciara Cetraro hasn't missed a day of school. That's more than 2,000 days of showing up for every day of school. And perhaps most impressive of all: She did it living in Hawaii, which is known for its "epidemic" of chronic absenteeism.
West Hawaii Today reports that Cetraro has not only had perfect attendance, but the Konawaena High School senior is also one of her class valedictorians, president and treasurer of the school's National Honor Society chapter, captain of the Konawaena Wildcat cheerleading squad, senior class vice president and Go Green Environmental Club vice president.
"I never did this for the recognition or awards. It's always been a personal choice and a hard habit to break," she told the paper.
"School is very important to me and I like it. I've always been afraid of possibly missing something. I just wanted to try my best, learn as much as I can and continually improve myself. By not missing a single day of school, I get the opportunity to build on and broaden my knowledge."
The days of consecutive attendance required for Cetraro to achieve her record puts her in some famous company. For example, Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the Major League Baseball record for games played in a row: lacing up for 2,632 consecutive games over more than 16 years. And despite a recent illness, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest has shown up for every installment of the show over its ongoing 11-year run.
Hawaii's Board of Education Vice Chairman Brian DeLima described the upcoming May 19 milestone as a "a remarkable feat."
"Studies show academic achievement drops significantly for students who miss 10 percent or more of a school year," DeLima told the paper. "Chronic absenteeism is more than an early indicator that a student will eventually drop out of school; it's symptomatic of bad habits in life."
DeLima said about 12,000 of Hawaii's public school students missed 15 or more days of school during the first half of the academic year alone.
A 2010 report in Education Week found that students who are absent from school 10 percent or more of the time are far more likely to fail courses and eventually drop out of school, as compared with their more attentive counterparts.
And there's one reason that Cetaro still sounds so humble despite an incredible dedication to her personal education: Last year, her brother Nicolas was awarded the same record while also serving as a class valedictorian.
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