Taylor Thomas got to leave school early last week.
That might not be significant for some students, unless, that is, they had just racked up a streak few can equal. Thomas has not missed a day of school in her entire career.
From kindergarten to her senior year Thomas just went to school, every day.
Asked if she planned to skip a day now that the record was safely sealed and she had her medal and plaque commemorating the occasion, “Probably not,” was her response.
What has kept her going to school day after day regardless of bad weather or being tired or not having her homework done, although that is likely never a problem for a student finishing second in her class, is the same person who watched her receive the hardware for her achievement at the academic awards ceremony.
“Mom is definitely the secret,” she said. Thomas said her mother will not let her stay home without a major reason and she had been fortunate enough not to have one.
“I don’t know why but I just don’t get sick that much,” she said.
She said she had not suffered an injury from sports that kept her from showing up either. Thomas said she didn’t see the streak as that remarkable and over the years had come to see going to school day after day as something she just does. The idea of cutting school or just staying home almost seems not to compute. “It’s just something that you’ve got to do I guess, I’ve always had it in my mind that you get up and go to school.”
“I never really had an excuse not to go,” she said.
High School guidance secretary Bridgette LieBig said she could recall at least one other student equaling the feat during her more than 15 years at the school. Liebig said she believed there had been others who also achieved the mark.
While picking up a plaque and medal were nice, the college-bound senior said she just as soon see a cash reward. She said she had been kidding with Superintendent Dan Teplesky that she was still waiting for the scholarship as a reward. “I should get something for that, right?” she said with a smile.
Thinking back, Thomas said she could not recall many times when the streak was close to coming to an end, but she said there was one time a couple of classmates would recall vividly. The sickest she ever was at school took place way back in first grade she said.
“I puked, I think, a couple of times during the day; everybody remembers that,” she said.
Thomas said the victims of her near streak-breaking illness were AlLee Straub and Mary Beth Somich, or more accurately Straub’s desk and Somich’s snow pants. “She didn’t get to go out for recess that day,” Thomas said, laughing.
“And the nurse didn’t even send me home,” she said. “I got to lay down in the nurses office for a while and that was it.”
Thomas said she had received some good-natured teasing in reaction to the news of her streak. Although the people at the bank called her Mrs. Perfect, Thomas said, she at least got a lollypop out of the deal. While some tease her she said she had also gotten a lot of congratulations from people.