N.L. teen celebrates end of high school having never missed a day of class — since kindergarten
A Cape Broyle, N.L., teenager celebrated the end of an era Friday with a surprise motorcade honouring what might be one of his greatest achievements to date: 13 years of schooling without a single moment of absence.
Trent O'Brien's first day of kindergarten — Sept. 6, 2006, as he's proud to announce — would set off an unbroken attendance record that lasted until his final day of Grade 12 at Baltimore School in Ferryland.
O'Brien, 17, impressed his classmates and teachers so much, they threw him a party Friday afternoon: a stream of school buses, banners, and even a yellow Mustang convertible to carry the vaunted student around his hometown of Cape Broyle.
"The school got together and we had a little motorcade through the community I grew up in," he said.
"We just done a loop around, went back to school and had a little presentation in the cafeteria, and they just gave me a little plaque and a cake."
His photograph also made it to the school's wall, he added — where it'll hang "for everyone to see now, forevermore."
All the fuss has made O'Brien a bit of a celebrity, he said.
"Everyone's asking how'd I do it and coming up to me and getting pictures and everything," he explained.
So, what's the secret?
As a kid, O'Brien said he'd simply never gotten sick enough to stay home on a school day.
"I guess I was just lucky," he said. "I got sick on the weekends."
Even his dentist appointments always happened after class was out, he added, and it never occurred to him to fake a fever or sore throat for a day off.
"I never minded going to school, like I never hated it," he said. Math class wasn't his favourite, but the sciences — especially chemistry, which he'll be taking this fall at Memorial University — were actually pretty fun.
Besides, he added, skipping school on the southern shore would have meant a dreary, lonely day indeed.
"We never really had nowhere to go," he said. "You're only going to go out and drive around in circles. You can't go to McDonald's or Walmart."
By the time "senior skip day" came around — just a couple weeks before his untarnished record would officially end with a farewell to secondary education — O'Brien made his way to school as usual, waiting until the last bell to join his 14 other graduating classmates for the sanctioned pass outside the classroom.
"I couldn't ruin the streak then," he said. "And I still got to participate in it. Best kind."
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