When Greenbrier senior Clint Shearouse walked across the stage to receive his diploma, he fulfilled a vow he made when he was five-years-old.
He declared he would never miss a day of school, and in 13 years he never did. He's gone from kindergarten through 12th grade without skipping a beat.
Or a day.
"Very rarely do you have that," said Charlie Nagle, associate superintendent for student and school services.
When he was five, Clint went with his mother to a high school graduation ceremony where a student was recognized for four years of perfect attendance in high school and received a plaque.
"Clint said then, 'I'm going to do that, but I'm going to do that the whole time,"' said his mother Margaret Shearouse, an art teacher at Harlem High School.
Clint received a medal at his graduation ceremony, but he had to give up a lot to get it.
In elementary school he turned down a trip to Disney World when he found out they were leaving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - a school day.
And in middle school he had paid his money to go on an 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C., but canceled those plans when he found out those days would be counted as an excused absence.
And in high school, he was tied to his desk while others were enjoying typical "skip days," such as the day of the prom.
"It's taken a lot of determination," his mother said.
But that doesn't mean he's enjoyed perfect health. Dentist appointments and doctors appointments were purposefully scheduled around school hours. Clint, who suffers from headaches, often suffered silently in class.
"It was pretty tough," Clint said. "There were days when I was sick and I'd have to tough it out. And I could ever get out of school to go to places like Six Flags."
But there were rewards. Columbia County has an policy which allows students to exempt final exams if they make good grades and have a sterling attendance record. And good grades, he said, seem logically tied to attendance.
"I didn't have to make up any work or pick up notes I didn't have. I'm sure it helped a lot," he said.
Being the son of two school teachers - John and Margaret Shearouse - might also have had something to do with it.
"I wish there was something we could do to make kids want to be at school more, to realize how importance attendance is," Shearouse said. "We're talking about end of the course testing and accountability and teachers can't be accountable if their students are not in the classroom."
Clint, 18, said he plans to attend Montana State University this fall, but is undecided in his major.
Will he be able to match his perfect attendance record in college?
"I don't know," he said. "We'll see."
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