Tag Archives: Steven Krafft

12 Perfect Years

Photo: Kaneland High School graduate Steven Krafft has never missed a day of school in his life. Photo by John DiDonna

Krafft receives perfect attendance, sets sights on NIU jazz guitar
by Cheryl Borrowdale
KANELAND—There may not have been a special recognition at graduation for what Steven Krafft, a 2012 Kaneland High School graduate, achieved this year, but his parents thought it was worthy of a new acoustic guitar—something the aspiring jazz musician had been wanting.

After all, Steven had accomplished what no other student in the district did: 12 straight years of perfect attendance. That’s 2,160 consecutive days of school without ever even being tardy to class, despite a daily sprint down the entire length of the high school—from the jazz band room at the east end to a Spanish room at the west end—during his senior year.

“I was really never sick, so that always helped,” Steven said. “I was just really busy and never had time to be sick.”

Yet his mother, Julie Krafft, said his attendance record reflects his dedication to his music and his studies, not his stellar immune system.
“Even when he’s had a headache or he’s been up late, and most kids would skip school, he just wanted to go,” she said.

She particularly remembers one day in middle school when he had injured his foot and insisted on going to school no matter what.

“I wanted to take him to go get it x-rayed,” she said. “My husband and I feel that school is pretty important, and we always told him that school was pretty important. But he needed an x-ray, and we tried to talk him out of (going to school) that day.”

Steven was so insistent that he couldn’t miss a day, she said, that she rescheduled the appointment for after school and he hobbled around on his foot, which was sprained, that day.

In fact, he was so insistent that he couldn’t miss a day, his parents would occasionally threaten him with it, Steven said.

“They knew that I wanted it, the perfect attendance thing, so it was a punishment basically,” he said. “They always told me to dress warm, to make sure I ate my vegetables, stuff like that, because if I got sick they weren’t going to let me go to school. It was tough love. It worked.”

It became a goal the whole family shared. So when Julie logged onto Konnect, Kaneland’s online gradebook and attendance system, to check on his grades during his junior year, she was shocked to see Steven’s first tardy.

“I told him, and he was really upset,” she said. “We had to get that straightened out.”

It turned out the tardy was a mistake. Like many Kaneland music students, Steven had P.E. on A days and jazz band on B days, but he had accidentally been marked tardy by his P.E. teacher on a day that he was scheduled to be in band. His father, Keith, called the school to get the record fixed.

Steven’s dedication to school was surpassed only by his dedication to music, which he spent an average of six hours a night studying throughout high school. He started taking evening music theory and guitar classes at Waubonsee as soon as he turned 16, trying to get a head start on college and preparing for the audition that the Northern Illinois University jazz studies program requires for admission.

He admits that his attendance record at Waubonsee wasn’t perfect, but it was for good reasons.

“I went to Waubonsee for night classes, and having that on top of Kaneland work, that was a lot of work,” Steven said. “The classes were difficult and I didn’t have time for much else. So I skipped Waubonsee classes a few times when I had finals, just because I was worried about Kaneland. They don’t really take attendance (at Waubonsee), so it wasn’t really a big deal.”

His dedication paid off: he’ll be taking that acoustic guitar with him to NIU, where he’s been admitted to the jazz studies program, one of the top 10 in the nation. To Steven, the best prize is the chance to study with Rodrigo Villanueva, the associate professor who directs the university’s Jazz Lab Band.

Although he’s giving up perfect attendance as his goal now that he’s starting college, that’s because he hopes that he’ll have the opportunity to go on tour at some point during his music studies.

“I’ll see if (NIU) take(s) attendance or anything, but I don’t really think they do that, at least not with jazz studies,” Steven said. “The professor was on tour with Sting, and because he did that, I’m sure that he understands if you want to do something like that with music, because the only way to really learn music is by doing it.”

His mother can’t see him missing class for anything less important than his music.

“He has always said that he’s going to have perfect attendance his entire life, so I see that continuing,” Julie said. “He’s passionate about his studies, so I think he’ll make it. I’ve always taught him that it’s important for every person to attend school and to put a lot of work into it, and he does that. I feel you get out of it what you put into it. He’s put a lot into it.”

Positively perfect

Krafft attends 1,980 consecutive days of school, and counting
by Kaneland Krier
Kaneland—Steven Krafft has never missed a day of school in his life. He’s never even been tardy to a class. The Kaneland High School junior has 1,980 days of perfect attendance so far, and he plans to keep it that way.

“He hasn’t missed a day of school ever,” Dr. Greg Fantozzi, Kaneland’s principal, confirmed. “That takes a lot of dedication.”

Krafft is the only student at Kaneland High School with a perfect record. Yet a mix-up last year almost spoiled it.

As a musician in the school’s jazz band, Krafft has his physical education class and his jazz band class on alternate “A” and “B” days at Kaneland. His P.E. teacher accidentally marked him tardy on a day that Krafft was scheduled to be in jazz band, not in physical education.

That black mark was something that Kraftt simply couldn’t handle.

“It was heartbreaking,” Krafft said.

When he went home, he said, his father was so upset that he actually shed a few tears.

The next day, Krafft went to Assistant Principal Ian Smith, who straightened the record out.

Yet even though he cared about his spotless record, Krafft never told his classmates about it, he said, until he got a letter from Kaneland High School congratulating him for it last week. Then, he posted about it on his Facebook wall, letting his friends know about his lifelong perfect attendance.

What did they say?

“Thirty people ‘liked’ it,” Krafft said. “My dad said ‘good job.’”

Krafft hadn’t been going for a record until he reached sixth grade and suddenly realized that he had never missed a day.

“I was just never sick,” Krafft said. “But then I realized what I had. I realized that I had something no one else does. It’s unusual. It’s cool.

“Plus,” he added, “I just don’t like doing make-up work.”

KHS recognizes students with perfect attendance

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.