13yr perfect attendance not honored at local HS

Posted at 9:51 AM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 15:02:04-04

Thirteen years of perfect attendance—from kindergarten through 12th grade—is a pretty admirable feat, one that a Carroll County mom says isn’t being properly recognized by a local high school.

Suzanne Olden’s daughter, Meghan, and her classmate, Emily Cannastraci, are seniors at Century High School in Sykesville. Olden says both girls are honor students and musicians who’ve shared classes together since middle school.

According to Olden, Meghan and Emily haven’t missed a single day of school, yet Century High School administrators won’t be publicly acknowledging their achievement.

“Both of them have had perfect attendance since kindergarten,” Olden said. “You hear about one kid in a school every once in awhile, but two in the same class in the same year, I thought it was a big deal.”

Olden contacted school administrators this year to see if the girls could receive special recognition at the annual award ceremony. On graduation day she said, students are honored for each year of perfect attendance on record at Century High School. Days recorded at previous schools apparently end up on the cutting room floor.

Through a friend, Olden commissioned letters signed by former Oriole Cal Ripken, Jr. congratulating Meghan and Emily on their achievement. She’d hoped the letters would be presented to the girls at the award ceremony, but was told by administrators that they would only acknowledge attendance at Century High School and nothing more. She said administrators also told her that presenting an award from a third-party wasn’t appropriate.

“That didn’t make any sense to me because what are all the other community awards? They’re scholarships that people get from third parties that aren’t part of the school system,” she said.

While Century High School officials declined to comment, Steve Johnson, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction at Carroll County Public Schools said schools are free to decide how they’d like to award students.

“We don’t have a central policy on what schools are required to recognize or not recognize,” he said. “It’s completely up to the school and the traditions of that school. We don’t dictate what awards must be given out.”

Suzanne Olden thinks the girls deserve a bit more fanfare for their 13-year commitment. She said Meghan is a very healthy girl who somehow managed to only get sick on the weekends or during school breaks.

“These girls are accomplished and smart and they’ve made a big effort to get to school to make sure that they got educated and did well at it,” she said. “Why are we not making a bigger deal about it?”

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