It’s not always easy for young people, especially teens, to rise with the alarm clock to get ready for another day of school.
But two Johnston County students – Timothy Medlin of Smithfield-Selma High and Holly Lockamy of South Johnston High – managed to not miss a day in their 13-year school careers. Both were recognized at their respective graduation ceremonies for perfect attendance.
For Medlin, perfect attendance was a goal he set when he was 5 years old. “My father and uncle both went 13 years without missing school, so I figured I would do it myself,” Medlin said, thankful that he never had a serious health problem.
At 180 days a school year, Medlin and Lockamy were in class for 2,340 days.
Medlin said he the accomplishment didn’t come without sacrifice. “I once stayed home from a cruise my family went on so I could go to school,” he said.
The cruise was during his junior year, and Medlin said he was so close to his goal that he didn’t want to give up.
Though recognition for perfect attendance is small – a certificate and the chance to hear your name called at graduation – it was worth it to Medlin. “I know what I did, and my family knows what I did, and that’s all that matters to me,” he said.
Now that he’s graduated, Medlin said, he’s trying to find a job before attending college.
Lockamy said she wished she could’ve gotten a bit more acknowledgement for her sacrifice. “I kind of look back now and wonder why I did it,” she said.
Lockamy, who plans to attend Johnston Community College in the fall, said she wished perfect attendance came with a college scholarship.
Compared to Medlin, Lockamy was late to the perfect-attendance game, setting the goal in sixth grade. But like Medlin, she sacrificed much, even going to school after having her wisdom teeth removed.
That’s not to say Lockamy was there for every minute of every day. Some days, when she was sick, Lockamy went for half days. That was the case many days this school year, when she got really sick.
But for most of those 2,340 days, nothing slowed Lockamy down. “One time I was in a car accident, and the next day I was at school,” she said.
Lockamy’s mother is trying to set up a scholarship for future students who have perfect attendance.