COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One-dozen high school graduates from the Midlands completed their educational careers without missing a day of school.
They were recognized by the South Carolina Department of Education for their accomplishment. Six Richland One students graduated with perfect attendance. Sumter School District and Lexington-Richland School District Five had two students each who graduated with perfect attendance. The other students were from Newberry School District and Lexington One.
Ryann Shealy and Lauren Miley graduated from Dutch Fork High School.
"I hope it can help, like, people realize that they can come to school, even, you know, some days you don't always wanted to wake up in the morning," Shealy said. "Some of my friends, if they wanted to skip school, they would say 'Oh, we're going stay because Ryann's going to be here.'"
Shealy will be attending Honors College at the University of South Carolina to study biological sciences. She said she will try to continue her perfect record there.
Miley also will be attending USC. She will be studying hospitality management.
"It's a great accomplishment to get, like, perfect attendance for 13 years," she said. "Some days I didn't want to get up. But then I'm like, I don't want to get behind so I went to school anyway. I hope I have perfect attendance in college. Well, I'm going to try, at least."
Two students from Sumter High School graduated with perfect attendance: Tiara Janay London and Erin Rhylee Collins.
"I thank my parents, Terence and Tanjo Lonon, for teaching me the importance of perfect attendance," London said. "They taught me that attendance played an important role in academics. I am an honors student and missing one day of school would have made me miss important information that you will most likely need for a test or a quiz. If you learn by listening, makeup work doesn't always cut it."
London plans to major in biology at Francis Marion University so she can pursue a career as a pediatrician.
Collins also is pursuing a career in the medical field. She will attend USC Sumter then Transfer to Clemson where she will study nursing. She hopes to be a flight paramedic or work in a trauma unit.
"I did perfect attendance because it defines me," she said. "My brothers did sports, and I wanted to do something different. I am the baby of my family, and I knew that I would be defined by this."
Dylan James Roberson graduated from Lexington High School with perfect attendance. He received several certifications through Lexington Technology Center and plans to attend Florence Darlington Technical College where he will study to be a diesel mechanic.
"The welding classes and my experiences at Lexington Technology Center helped me prepare for my future plans to become a diesel mechanic at Caterpillar," he said.
Marcas Zacheus Smith graduated from AC Flora High School with perfect attendance and the prestigious Gates Scholarship.
"What really motivates me is seeing myself progress," he said. "And whenever I see that, it just pushes me to work even harder."
Smith plans to student architectural engineering and design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.>
Joanna Grace Bedenbaugh graduated from Mid-Carolina High School with perfect attendance. She said she set her goal of perfect attendance early in her education.
"Beginning in the 2002-2003 school year I received perfect attendance for the very first time as I graduated from Kindergarten. Every year after that it was simply a routine to receive this award," she said. "Not missing a day of school really wasn't that hard. I simply went to school when I was supposed to go. However, I still wouldn't have had the motivation to wake up every morning and go to school if it weren't for my parents, Steve and Edith Bedenbaugh. That's 2,340 consecutive days of school, if we're being exact, and without God, my parents, grandparents, sister, friends and teachers, I would have never been able to reach my goal. I want to thank them for helping me realize how awesome an achievement it would be to do this and for being my own personal cheering squad throughout the years."
Bedenbaugh plans to study business at Newberry College and hopes to have her on photography studio one day.
Cyrus Hall graduated from W.J. Keenan High School with perfect attendance.
Graduates from Dreher High School who never missed a day of class include: Gabrielle Cummings, Brianna Harris, Ashley Pough and Nicholas Seymour.
"These outstanding students undoubtedly have bright futures ahead of them because they've already learned one very important life lesson: persevere to achieve your goals," said Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon. "We extend our congratulations to them and their families."