Regardless of the temptation to play hooky, about 2,000 Hall County and Gainesville city school students had perfect attendance for the 2007-08 school year, according to Will Schofield, superintendent for Hall County Schools.
Forty of those students, one from each school, were honored with an invitation to a pizza party Thursday at the Hall County School System Central Office. The event was hosted by the school systems and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Partners in Education committee.
In addition to Papa John’s pizza, each student received a $50 gift certificate from the school systems’ sponsors, including Brewster’s, Wal-Mart, Applebee’s and Best Buy.
Schofield said just getting to school is half the battle to success.
"I know there were days when you had a sore throat," Schofield told the group of students and parents. "One thing I talk about is we need to start with the end in mind. As far as we know, the best indicator of success in the future is if you show up when you say you’re going to show up."
Dani Lacko, an eighth-grader at C.W. Davis Middle School, said her school’s policy requiring student athletes to attend school before they can participate in that day’s practice is what helped her make perfect attendance for the school year.
"Playing sports is my reason for going to school," she said.
Lacko, who plays basketball, runs track and cross country, said she hates to miss school.
Schofield said students’ parents play a big role in helping children get to school each day and commended their commitment.
Ronda Lacko, Dani Lacko’s mother, said her daughter was adamant in getting to school each day because of her passion for sports.
"It would’ve been easier to go home after doctor’s appointments, but she always said, ‘Please mom, take me back to school.’ She wanted to go to practice," Ronda Lacko said.
Joshua Gober got his free slices of pizza Thursday. Gober, who recently graduated from Flowery Branch High School, said he has had at least eight years of perfect attendance.
"Last time I remember being sick was in kindergarten," he said. "I don’t like missing any classes because I want to learn as much as I can. I don’t want to get behind in my classes."
Gober said sitting through class every day certainly helped his grades. He graduated valedictorian of his class.
When asked if he’s going to keep up his perfect attendance record when he begins studying chemistry at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta this fall, he smirked.
"It’s going to be a lot harder," he said. "I guess there will more temptation to skip class and have fun. But I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble."