IRMO, SC (WIS) - A Dutch Fork High School senior has her eyes set on graduation following 12 years of perfect attendance.
Michaiah Ross credits her mother for helping her achieve the feat, adding without the early morning wake-up calls, she may not have been so successful.
"She's the reason I did it every day and she was definitely motivating me and keeping me determined," Ross said.
According to the Lexington-Richland School District 5, Ross is one of 25 students statewide to achieve the honor. She said her senior year posed a unique challenge.
"You get some freedom with senior study halls and then once you get a taste of that you just don't want to come," she said. "Senioritis is real so you really don't want to be here."
In addition to never missing a day of school, Ross also took part in numerous extracurriculars.
"I did cheerleading, drama club and I was on the prom board," she said. "The key is not procrastinating. I would try and it always backfires."
Evelyn Hyatt teaches statistics at Dutch Fork High School and has Ross in class this semester. In her 18 years of teaching, she's never seen a student with perfect attendance through each of their 12 years of schooling.
"It is very rare for a student to be here every day, it's actually a pleasure if they're here every day of one unit, it's easier for students to retain information if they're there daily," Hyatt said. "A student like Michaiah who continues to practice when she's home too, it just makes her learning even better."
Hyatt said coming from a supportive family has also helped Ross never miss a day of school.
"She comes from great parents," she said. "Her mom is very involved, not to the point that she controls everything, but she teaches her to be in control of her own learning and she gives her the tools she needs to be successful."
Ross plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the fall to major in mass communications. As for how she'll maintain her perfect attendance record, she said she'll likely set multiple alarm clocks.
"It's worth it," she said. "Missing a day of school may seem fun but if you just keep pushing it's a real honor."
With seniors finishing up regular classes on Friday, Ross said she's looking forward to "sleeping in" until graduation in June.
Four other Midlands students also received perfect, 12-year attendance honors. Ansulkumar Patel from Lower Richland High School along with J'Quan Tylek Jenkins-Johnson, Shekinah Victoria Lonon, and Morgan Elizabeth Pringle of Sumter High School all have perfect attendance records.