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Westlake Graduate Finishes K-12 Schooling Without an Absence

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Think of how many times as a kid that got you sick or had the sniffles that required you to miss a day or two from school. That never happened to new Westlake High School graduate Kathleen Bennett.

Bennett graduated with a perfect attendance record from the day she entered kindergarten until she walked across the stage last Friday to receive her high school diploma.

“I don’t really get sick,” Bennett said. “I might get a little cough but that isn’t like a sickness really.”

While that may seem incredible, think about this for a moment: Bennett isn’t even the first member of her family to complete the feat. Her older brother, Brian, also went through 13 years at the Mount Pleasant School District without missing a single day. On top of that, their mother, Margaret, had perfect attendance in high school.

Margaret Bennett said to her the secret is making sure she and her family live healthfully – eating well with organic foods, getting proper rest, plenty of fresh air and exercise and taking multivitamins every day.

There also wasn’t a time when her children begged to stay home for one reason or another.

“They were very into going to school,” she said. “They always wanted to go to school and thank God they never got sick during school time.”

While Kathleen Bennett has received accolades for her perfect attendance, that certainly isn’t her only key accomplishment during her years at Mount Pleasant schools. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and was on the honor roll all four years in high school. Kathleen was also a member of the National Honor Society, National Social Studies Society, National Math Society and was on the Westlake Service Club Committee and Westlake Spanish Club Committee. 

On June 21, she was honored by County Legislator Margaret Cunzio with a proclamation and got her name on the County Center’s electronic message board.

Kathleen said she wasn’t particularly motivated by having her brother finish his school career without missing a day of class, but rather it was something that just happened. She also couldn’t remember a day when she felt as though her streak might be in jeopardy.

But by the time she got to high school, there was another type of motivation to make sure she always went to class.

“Especially in high school, if I would miss (time) in high school you miss a lot, so I would just make myself go in,” Kathleen said.

Her mother said it’s a significant accomplishment and represents more than just showing up every day.

“The commitment and perseverance shown by a student are qualities that will serve them well throughout their lives,” Margaret Bennett said. “It is not an easy goal, but nice to be recognized for doing well in school.”

Kathleen will be going to Iona in the fall where she plans to study education and is thinking about a career as an elementary school teacher. If she decides that’s what she would like to do, whatever school district might hire her probably won’t need a substitute for her classroom.

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