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Perfect attendance
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Dear Editor,
I read the article in the Great Bend Tribune: “Perfect attendance celebrated at USD 428” (May 20 issue). I am so pleased that perfect (and even “near-perfect attendance) of school students is recognized and not just by mere applause but with incentive prizes such as bicycles. I grew up in Rose Hill (a Wichita suburb) and had perfect attendance in Grades K-12. Back when I graduated in 1982, I was thankful to get a small-town newspaper notation and a small bronze plaque mounted on wood perhaps 5 inches by 5 inches, denoting the achievement, awarded by my then principal Mr. Jim Day. My  parents never let me play hookie. Partly, it was due to their strong work-ethic or should I say “study ethic” instilled in me. But, mainly, it was because our family’s back fence bordered the school grounds. If I had even attempted to stay home while healthy and skip school the teachers and principal would have been the first to notice. And any punishment I would have gotten at school would be “double-the-punishment” by my dad. Needless to say I never skipped a day of school. That good habit continued into my college days at Wichita State University with a similar ethic. I remember once driving to Wichita State for “final exams” when the university was technically “open” but area high schools dismissed. It was -10 below zero and perhaps seven inches of snow on the ground. My dad maintained my car well, I trudged a path out of Rose Hill on a blanket of newly-laid snowfall. By the time I reached Andover I could follow a trail of ruts in the snow from a few other vehicles. As I got closer to the university I was still following ruts but got to WSU, took my “finals” and drove back home.  The interesting part of this story is I was within about 4 miles of Rose Hill, I only saw a faint trace of tire track ruts. I followed those.  They grew fainter and fainter. Little did I realize it but the tracks led back to my very own driveway. That, my friends, is a story in persistence. Hence, I was the only vehicle who had driven in or out of Rose Hill for several hours. I almost wish I had gotten a prize for that! Again my congratulations to students of USD 428. Their dedication will serve them well, later in life.
James A. Marples