Kindergarten to high school, youth achieves 13 years perfect attendance
Miranda Fagan graduated May 19 with a distinction none of her fellow Marshall County High graduates attained: a perfect attendance record.
“I’m tired, I’m really tired,” said the red-haired, 18-year-old, recent graduate who never missed a day of school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Fagan said her parents were a large part of the reason.
“Kindergarten through sixth grade my dad just made me go to school every day. That wasn’t my choice. And like seventh, eighth grade I had a little more freedom to choose, but I still went. I don’t really know why. I don’t think I knew what perfect attendance was in seventh, eighth grade, I didn’t really care, but going into my freshman year I started hearing about perfect attendance and I was like, well I’ll try. And then my senior year I realized I haven’t missed a day, ever,” Fagan said while sitting crisscrossed on her family’s leather couch.
She explains that her classmates thought she was crazy for never missing or skipping a day, but to her, perfect attendance is what set her apart from all the rest.
“Perfect attendance was the only thing I had, everybody else had straight A’s or stuff like that and I didn’t really have that so I was like, perfect attendance, this is what I’m going to keep up,” Fagan said.
The valedictorian and other students who graduated with honors and distinction expressed to Fagan that they felt she had more dedication than any of them and couldn’t imagine having perfect attendance.
Especially when life can throw curveballs at a moment’s notice.
To be clear, there were days when she just wanted to stay home.
“I get a lot of ear infections and those are awful, I stay up all night, but then I’d still have to go. Or, there are classes where I had to write papers for and I’d stay up all night and I definitely didn’t want to go the next day,” Fagan said.
In the eighth grade, Fagan had a pretty bad stomach virus that almost ruined her streak. She had to push herself to go to school when all she wanted to do was stay home.
She said that at Marshall County High School, the bell rings at eight o’clock sharp, and if you’re not inside the classroom by then, you are late.
She walked in at 7:58 a.m. that day.
After going through a full day of school with a terrible stomach bug, Fagan knew completing her goal was going to be a cakewalk.
“If I can come to school with a stomach virus I think I can hold it up another four years in high school,” Fagan said.
Fagan said her parents did everything they could to support her.
“All my doctor’s appointments, I had to make sure were after school, and my mom would work so hard calling back and forth making sure that all my doctor’s appointments were after school, and everything closes right at four so we had to fly there,” Fagan said.
Now that she is all done with high school, Miranda plans on going to Columbia State but isn’t entirely sure what to do after that, except she is leaning towards criminal justice.
As for continuing her perfect attendance, Fagan isn’t sure if she will be keeping that tiring commitment in college.
“I thought about missing a day of high school but it just tore me up inside, I don’t know how to explain it, but probably my first day of college, it’s going to be a relief.”
Steve Barnum is a journalism major at Middle Tennessee State University. He was one of several students who recently spent a week in Marshall County writing stories for the Marshall County Tribune.