Perfect attendance is pretty rare among students today. By June’s end-of-year awards programs, there are usually just a handful of kids who never missed a day of school that year.
So think how impressive it would be to never miss a day in six years of elementary school. Or in three years of middle school. Or all four years of high school. Any one of those would be quite an accomplishment, but Kaleb Kluttz has done them all. He recently graduated from Mount Pleasant High School with 13 years of perfect attendance.
“Sometimes it was hard,” Kluttz said of never missing school, “but you have to be at school to get an education,” he added, citing a lesson learned from his teachers and parents.
Kaleb’s parents, Jannette and Lee Kluttz, clearly taught those lessons well: Kaleb’s older brother and sister achieved the same goal. Yes, all three Kluttz children – Alex, Lindsey and Kaleb – never missed a day of school.
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Lee and Jannette Kluttz admit there was a good bit of luck involved in their children’s streak of good health.
“I can honestly say I never sent them to school when I felt they should not be there,” Jannette said.
“If I were to get sick it would be late at night or on a weekend,” Lindsey Kluttz Love, now a teacher at Mount Pleasant Elementary School, said. Alex, her twin, and Kaleb also said that their illnesses “conveniently” fell on weekends or school breaks. And Jannette added that there was never a thought of pulling the kids from school for family vacations; those were always planned for summers and weekends.
“Education is important to our family,” Lindsey said. “You need to be in school.”
“I never realized not going to school was ever an option,” said Alex, now a middle-school band director in Virginia. “If you’re not there, you can’t learn.”
Jannette Kluttz says there were times when her children almost missed school. The twins were in first grade when Kaleb was born, and were up all night at the hospital with their parents. But they were determined to go to school and tell everyone about their new baby brother.
For Kaleb, the hardest day came in his last semester. Jannette could see that he wasn’t feeling his best, and encouraged him to rest. She recalled Kaleb telling her, “I haven’t missed a day yet and today’s not going to be the first,” as he left for school.
Kaleb, Lindsey and Alex each admit that a bit of sibling rivalry may have spurred them to achieve their perfect attendance goal. But more important than one-upping each other are those lessons they learned from their parents about determination, commitment, accountability and the value of education. And, they all liked school.
As Jannette Kluttz said, “When it’s something you enjoy, you don’t mind getting up every morning to face it.”
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marcia? Email her at EasternCabarrusWriter@gmail.com