Photo: Sophomore Brett Evola helps himself to some pancakes, sausage and fruit salad at the perfect attendance breakfast. Courtesy Photo
They never missed a day of school; and their numbers are increasing.
by Kaneland Krier staff
Kaneland—Kaneland High School honored 42 students with perfect attendance on May 24 with a pancake breakfast and awards ceremony. The number of students with perfect attendance is on the rise, attendance secretary Cathy Mathews said, and is up nearly one-third from the 33 students who achieved it last year.
The students received a certificate of perfect attendance from Counselor Andrew Franklin, and administrators spoke about the students’ achievements.
“You’re every teacher’s dream,” Principal Greg Fantozzi told the assembled students. “To have someone in class every day, not missing tests or homework, that’s the ideal educational experience.”
He pointed out that future employers would appreciate people who showed up to work every day, on time, like clockwork.
“It’s a really important attribute that your boss will appreciate,” Fantozzi said.
And, occasionally, employers do check someone’s attendance with the high school, Mathews said.
“One of the most interesting calls I ever got was from Wal-Mart, asking about the high school attendance of an 82-year-old woman,” Mathews recalled. “It was such a long time ago, but they still wanted to know whether she was someone with a good attendance record. And I went through the old records and told them.”
Mathews particularly praised the Kaneland freshmen class, which had the largest number of students with perfect attendance: 18.
“The freshmen are working on their attendance,” Mathews said.
Freshman Jordan Thelander, who was among those students with a perfect record, said she was proud of her accomplishment.
“I think it’s pretty great because I’ve missed a day of school every year except this year,” Thelander said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to do that. I guess the freshmen class is very determined not to miss school, maybe because it’s really annoying to do the make-up work.”
The sophomore class also had high numbers of students with perfect attendance, with 13 students who had never missed a day. Among them are siblings Brett and Breanna Evola, both sophomores.
The siblings said they were surprised to learn they had both had perfect attendance.
“I knew I had it,” Breanna Evola said. “But I wasn’t trying to get anything, so it was kind of shocking. I didn’t know Brett had it to until he told me he got the letter.”
Brett said the two had not coordinated their accomplishment.
“After third term, I noticed I had perfect attendance and thought I’d keep it going,” he said. “I’ve only gotten perfect attendance one other time, in eighth grade. It’s ironic because we weren’t really trying, and I wasn’t really paying attention until we both got the letter.”
The Evola siblings said that their father had inspired them to strive in school.
“My dad, he’s always impressed with our accomplishments, and he pushes us,” Brett said. “He says, ‘Don’t stay home unless you need to, not unless you’re absolutely dying sick.’ And because he strives, I push and strive too.”
Nine juniors had perfect attendance, including Steven Krafft, who has never missed a day of school in his life, and three seniors had achieved perfect attendance.
Senior Kari Pitstick joked about being one of the only seniors with perfect attendance.
“Even senior skip day, I just came because it was so late in the year, and I didn’t want to ruin it,” she said with a laugh.
Pitstick said she wanted to do it for herself.
“For me personally, it’s all myself. If I wanted to miss a day of school, my parents would let me,” she said. “But I don’t want to miss.”
At the banquet, 37 of the 42 students received a certificate and a $25 gift certificate to Geneva Commons, as well as a pancake breakfast served by the culinary arts students.
The other five students?
They did not want to attend the banquet, which was held during second block, and miss time in class, Mathews said.
“I told them it was okay, but they didn’t want to miss anything,” she said. “I’ll bring their certificates to them.”
Students with perfect attendance at Kaneland High School this year are freshmen Anna Bateman, Steven Becker, Melissa Cherry, Megan Franklin, Mattie Garrison, Lauren Grim, Bailey Harvell, Mara Hernandez, Tyler Hill, Brandon Lewkowich, Joseph Mendoza, Alec Pope, Eileen Ruppel, Rachel Steinmiller, Jordan Thelander, Cynthia Vasquez, Zachary Wielgos and Nathan Zitko. Sophomores were Sarah Briggs, Zachary Eckhardt, Breanna Evola, Brett Evola, David Hernandez, Zachary Jones, Alec Koczka, Matthew Limbrunner, Joseph Pollastrini, Kaitlyn Wendling, Christopher Wido and Nicholas Yankula. Juniors were Bridget Hankes, Steven Krafft, Adam Olderr, William Osbourne, Alexa Reger, Josias Rodriguez, Stephan Rosenwinkle, Margaret Ruppel and Marissa Villafuerte. Seniors were Patrick Bratschun, Kari Pitstick and Amanda Whiteside.