The Manchester School System puts an emphasis on attendance through the Get your Selfie to School campaign and rewarding good attendance habits, but how do these efforts impact the students? In the first semester of the 2018-19 academic year, 47 students at Westwood Elementary School had perfect attendance.

Four of them — kindergartener Taveon Hillsman,  third grader Bradley Lazalier, and fifth graders Micah Anderson and Janet Pinda – shared how important it was to them to be in school.

“Always try to come to school. Because that helps you and your learning. It helps you get better grades if you have bad grades from missing school. Get to school whenever you can because you’ll learn more and it will help you get a job. School is kind of everything,” Micah said.

The fifth grader said he is the one who gets himself out of bed everyday – his biological clock is set up wake him up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, which gives him plenty of time to get ready and in the car.

Bradley, Janet and Taveon are all woken up by their family members, if their alarm doesn’t get them up, and echoed Micah’s statement about getting to school. Assistant Principal Holly Hayse added that parental support is important in getting students to school every day.

“Get to school every day,” Bradley said. “If you just don’t want to or if you’re really tired, just get to school because it will help you get better grades, get higher in high school which will cause you to do better in college, which will make you get a better job. So just try as hard as you can to get to school every day.”

Taveon, who enjoys going to school, in part, because of his teacher Laura White, said the idea of getting smarter every day helps get him excited. That, and the prizes.

“Whenever I get perfect attendance all the time, I get excited cause they have a prize cart. I liked the water bottle (Hayse) gave me,” Taveon said.

When a WES student has perfect attendance for nine weeks, they get to pick a prize from the aforementioned prize cart. All 47 of the students who had perfect attendance for the first semester received a reusable water bottle.

Like their kindergarten schoolmate, the three others said their teachers — Amy Knight and Mary Anne Hale, Jamie Morgan and Courtney Blackburn — played a large role in their enjoyment of school.

“My teachers are Ms. Knight and Ms. Hale and they’re really nice. They’re also very happy,” Janet said about her two teachers.

On a scale of one to 10, the older students ranked their pride in themselves between a six and 10.

“On a scale of 1-10, maybe 6, because this is my first year having perfect attendance for the first year,” Bradley said. After he got to nine weeks without missing a day, he made an effort to try to get to school every day for the rest of the year. He hopes to continue the streak until summer, and then into fourth grade.

“Probably a 9 or a 10. I always try to get to school every day possible so probably, yes,” Micah said. He’s had perfect attendance since second grade and is looking forward to continuing it into middle school.

Janet scored her pride as a 10. She doesn’t remember if she had perfect attendance in the past.

“I like school and sometimes my mom, when I’m sick, she doesn’t want me to go to school, but I do, because I try to get perfect attendance,” she said.

Taveon said he wants to keep his good attendance up until summer and into first grade.

News Editor

Casey recently joined the Manchester Times team in March 2018. Coming off a 17-month reporter stint in Port Chester, NY, she is looking forward to slowing down and integrating herself into the community. She currently resides in Manchester.

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