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Eagle student has perfect attendance

Cindy Ramunno
Theo StroomerChad Strakbein hasn't missed a day of school in 12 years. The EVHS student doesn't just show up " he pays attention, too.
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Eagle CO, Colorado ” Too bad Eagle Valley High School senior Chad Strakbein doesn’t live in Nashville. For perfect school attendance, the Tennessee city offers high school seniors a chance to earn a car through their Drive For Perfection program, which was created to give 2008 graduates an additional incentive to regularly attend classes. And that’s just for perfect attendance throughout the 2007-2008 school year. Eagle Valley’s Strakbein has not missed one day of school throughout his entire education ” kindergarten through 12th grade.

“I am even a little amazed myself that I have gone to that many days of school, but I enjoyed every day of it,” says Strakbein. It’s common knowledge that regular attendance has a positive impact on job performance, and according to the US Department of Education, students who have poor attendance for reasons other than illness are also more likely to drop out and to fall behind their peers in the classroom. “My view of perfect attendance is that it is important to go to school and learn just as much as it is to go to work and do your job. It’s important because it shows my employers how consistent I am to showing up,” he explains. “I also believe it is important because school is good for you and I never really had the urge to ditch school — especially for no reason.”

Only one other student in Eagle County Schools (that district officials have on record) has attended every day during their entire school career. That student was Kerry Donovan, a Battle Mountain High School 1997 graduate. The Colorado State Senate will also recognize Strakbein for the achievement. And he didn’t just show up either. He will graduate with a 4.13 GPA, and during his 4 years at the school, he excelled in numerous activities and sports. All that, and he works at the Ritz-Carlton, where he will increase his hours this summer, before entering Colorado State University in the fall.

Coming from a family of high achievers, Strakbein says that he never felt pressured to obtain perfect attendance. Once his family knew of that goal, they were supportive and helpful. “Once in the 2nd grade, I went to school feeling pretty bad and threw up in the hall,” says Strakbein. He describes another crazy event in the 4th grade, when his family was returning from Florida after a spring break trip. Having their Sunday (before school on Monday) afternoon flight evacuated and canceled, the rush was on. “The only flight they had was a red-eye flight to Las Vegas and then a seven o’clock AM flight from Vegas to DIA,” Strakbein explains. “After both flights we went as fast as possible through baggage claim and sprinted to the shuttle for the Pikes Peak parking lot. After we loaded all of our bags in the car, we hit the road. We knew that it was a two hour drive and looking at the time we were cutting it close.” The family made it to Eagle and drove straight to Eagle Valley Elementary, where Strakbein was wearing the same clothes from Sunday. “My dad dropped me off in the bus lane and told me to get to class, and then he would check me in at the office. I ran down the hall with none of my school supplies and made it to class.” A student must attend half the day to count as attending for the entire day, so although he missed part of the morning, it counted. “That day counted as me attending because you only have to attend half the day to count it as a full day. “I remember that my teacher, Mrs. Long, said ‘I was wondering where you were,'” laughs Strakbein.

More recently, Strakbein crashed on his long board on a school night. After a ride to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood, doctors determined that he needed a total of 19 stitches, with 8 of those being above the neck. Luckily, the next school day was a half day for seniors, with those students starting at 12:30, and Strakbein made it.

Even before that incident, teachers at the school agree that Strakbein works hard. “Chad is the most positive person I have ever met,” says Spanish teacher Gretchen Gerleman. She describes Strakbein as someone who puts hard work, determination and focus into his school work. “He is an impressive student. Students like Chad make teaching so rewarding because they are happy to be learning. Chad’s compassion, open minded attitude, and willingness to see the best in others draw people to him.”

Strakbein adds, “It is very rewarding to have perfect attendance.”


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