Alicia Rowan of Woodstock and Courtney Nations of Canton told similar stories about their triumph of perfect attendance. Rowan was congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo in April for accomplishing 12 years of perfect attendance throughout her education at Arnold Mill Elementary, Dean Rusk Middle and River Ridge High School.
“In the beginning it kind of just happened, but as I got older and older I tried to do it,” Rowan said. “I got sick one time and almost missed, but other than that it was really just easy because I was always there and I made it my priority.”
Rowan said that being part of clubs and organizations was the most meaningful part of her high school career. She participated in marching band and the BETA club all four years and plans to attend Kennesaw State University to study biology. Rowan said she will also participate on the KSU track team.
“I feel like (River Ridge) is more of a family than other schools,” Rowan said. “We’re just all connected, and we all support each other. I’m glad I got to go there. I’m glad the opportunity came for me.”
Nations has lived in the Keithsburg community north of Canton her entire life and attended Cherokee High School. Nation’s mom, Lisa Nations, is a teacher and said she’s proud of her daughter’s 12 years of perfect attendance.
“I think it’s great. She set that goal for herself,” Lisa Nations said. “I teach school, but I never realized she had perfect attendance until she exited the fifth grade at Ball Ground when she was getting ready to go to middle school, and at that point she decided that she was going to do her best never to miss a day.”
Her father died when she was 13 years old, and Nations said she set a goal to continue trying to get perfect attendance.
“That was a hardship we got through, but I made it a goal of mine that I didn’t want that to stop me from what I wanted to get done,” she said.
Nations said she played fast-pitch softball for four years, and was in both the National Honors Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for two years. She plans on attending the University of North Georgia next year and wants to go into special education.
Nations said students and staff lift each other up and support one another at Cherokee High.
“I’m glad I went to Cherokee because we don’t really have cliques in our high school,” Nations said. “Really, I think everybody’s friends with everybody else. That was a great thing about Cherokee.”