Every day, about 5 percent of students miss school, whether for illness, appointments or travel.
But this year, four sixth-graders in the south East Valley will be promoted to junior high with the distinction of being the only students in their classes to have never missed a day of school in seven years.
Cal Freeland, who attends Chandler’s Tarwater Elementary School, attributes his perfect attendance to his health.
“I just don’t get sick a lot and if I ever do get sick, it’s usually over a weekend or a holiday,” Cal said. Cal’s mom, Jennifer Freeland, said they figured out in third grade that Cal had never missed a day.
“After third grade, it was kind of his goal to keep going,” she said. “We were really good about not pulling him out for appointments. We’d wait until breaks or after school.”
Alexandra Palmatier, who began at Chandler’s Goodman Elementary School and now attends Conley Elementary School, said it’s important to her to attend school every day.
“I have good sleeping habits and I eat well and I’m not sick because of that,” she said. “I just think education is important, and to me there really is no point in missing school because it may be boring for some kids, but there’s also fun things about it as well.”
The fun things include field trips and end-of-the-year parties, she said.
Darby Vance, who began at Chandler’s Goodman, and now attends Hancock Elementary School, said he’s never been sick on school days.
There were some years when other students had perfect attendance for the whole year, but he’s the only one at Hancock who has done it every year. Eventually, it became a goal to finish elementary school without missing a day.
“It’s cool because not many kids do it,” Darby said.
Jonathon Stoner, who attends Gilbert’s Finley Farms Elementary School, said he’s never missed a day because he wasn’t allowed to.
“My mom made me go to school every day,” Jonathon said.
If they were to miss school for a day, they would each do something different: Jonathon would play video games, Cal would sleep and Darby would skateboard.
But those activities will likely be reserved for vacation, because they all plan to continue through high school with perfect attendance.