Perfect Attendance

Fresno, CA That walk across the stage is an exciting moment for every high school senior, but for Jillian Mason it marks the accomplishment of a very special goal.

Last Thursday was Jillian's final day of school 12 years never having missed one single day.

Rain, hail or even a sore throat couldn't keep Jillian from coming to class. The Sunnyside High School student says there simply was never a good enough reason.

"School is my anti-drug. It's addicting," says Jillian. "I just love coming here every single day, seeing my friends, being happy, having fun. It's just awesome."

That sort of passion for all things academic has been the cause of some good-natured teasing.

"You're a nerd-- you go to school every day. I missed senior ditch day and they're 'why didn't you go to senior ditch day?!'-- That is like the biggest thing in high school."

Though some friends can't help but admire her dedication.

"I don't know how she did it because when I'm sick I don't feel like doing anything," says her friend Cheatah Guimond. "And she came with a box of Kleenex with her. I think that was really cute."

Jillian admits there were mornings when her parents and brother had to nudge her out of bed ... until one day in elementary school.

"When I got my plaque in 6th grade for perfect attendance I thought wow this is something really special, I really want to keep this up."

She's also kept up her grades and extracurricular activities. Jillian is an honors student and athlete who recently broke the school's diving record.

"She's is going to be a success in life, " says her leadership teacher Jose Guzman. "She wants to be a fashion designer or an interior decorator and she's going to do it. There is no doubt we are going to see her name on a label some day."

As she said goodbye to friends and teachers, Jillian says there was a small sense of relief that her perfect attendance streak can and has finally come to an end.

"I just feel relaxed-- no more homework, no more studying-- I'm just going to have a fun summer."

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