When Kaelehn Nemeth graduated from Churchill County High School last month, she grasped her diploma with a crowning achievement — perfect attendance throughout her 13 years of schooling.
From kindergarten through her senior year, Nemeth never missed a day of school. Out of the nearly 240 CCHS graduates this year, the accomplishment is impressive. Out of the entire United States, the achievement is still uncommon and astounding to many.
“Some people don’t even believe me,” Nemeth said with a laugh when asked how a 13-year pristine record is possible.
During graduation, CCHS Principal Kevin Lords recognized Nemeth’s feat and presented her with a certificate. The effort will highlight Nemeth’s work ethic and loyalty on applications and resumes to come as well as note her good genes said her mother, who only missed two days of her school herself in eleventh grade; Nemeth’s brother, now a senior, is also on track to a flawless record. It really does run in the family.
The singular group of high-school students nationwide who have made it to all days of their K-12 years, including zero missed class sessions and not a smudge of tardiness, sometimes receive scholarships, even cars.
For example, a senior in Reno was awarded a 2017 Honda Fit when his name was drawn. The dealership was in its ninth year awarding a new car to one graduating senior from Washoe County schools who had perfect attendance that year.
There are a variety of creative ways students are rewarded for stellar attendance. It seems deserving considering the typical school year consists of 180 days and between 900 and 1,000 hours of instruction time.
“It’s rare to see those students who didn’t miss any day,” said Nemeth’s mother, Ana Henry.
But how is it possible to not need a sick day or have infringing doctor’s appointments and family trips?
Nemeth said she always wanted to go because she didn’t want to fall behind. She said she would be sick with a fever or sore throat — and would feel bad about going to school and try to be careful — but was determined not to miss anything. She added she was also grateful she was never seriously ill; her mother agreed.
“I’m not the smartest but I get good grades and I tried,” Nemeth said of the desire to be present.
Henry also added how her daughter would have her schedule any medical appointments outside school hours or during holiday breaks.
“She would say, ‘Mom, you have to make it after school,’” Henry said.
Nemeth admitted it was difficult at times, and she sometimes wondered if a day was going to be the day she missed or was she going to push through. Her friends would tease her and say “this is crazy” — they would ask, “Don’t you want to sleep in or go shopping?”
“Looking back on it, I thought, it wasn’t so bad,” she said but added she doesn’t really know anyone like her.
Nemeth was on the varsity swim team all four years of high school and served as a lifeguard at Naval Air Station Fallon for two years. This is her second summer lifeguarding at the city of Fallon pool.
Come fall, she will attend Truckee Meadows Community College for her associate nursing degree. She then plans to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which has an U.S. Air Force ROTC program that will allow her to finish nursing with a bachelor’s degree and enter the Air Force as an officer. She wants to be a pediatric nurse and travel. Nemeth has also applied for perfect-attendance scholarships.
“I want it to work out,” she said and we don’t doubt it will.