Corcoran High School senior Brandon Rowe not only is graduating Friday as a co-valedictorian of his class, he also has accomplished a rarity for any high school graduate: perfect attendance since kindergarten.
For 13 straight years, Rowe never missed a single day of school.
"I was very lucky at some points," he said. "I was never contagious."
Rowe's father, Curt, said that his son would get sick only on the weekends and by Monday he was always better. Brandon added: "I didn't want to miss anything and get behind my classmates."
Brandon received his first perfect attendance award in kindergarten and continued to receive the award until the school stopped giving them out when he was in the fifth grade.
"He put his mind to it after that, and perfect attendance became a goal," Curt Rowe said.
While students might miss school because they were tired or simply did not want to go, Brandon was different. "There were definitely days that I was tired, but since I had already gone so far, I wanted to keep going," he said.
Brandon's school record is even more remarkable considering his start in life.
He was born six weeks premature and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit at Valley Children's Hospital (since renamed Children's Hospital Central California). Many children who are born premature tend to face lung ailments and miss lots of school later in life, Curt Rowe said. Both he and his wife are proud of Brandon for overcoming these challenges and accomplishing such a tremendous feat.
"There was a graduates board at the NICU, and seeing those kids was really inspiring to us," Curt Rowe said.
The Kings County Office of Education recognized Brandon's accomplishment with a certificate and a $500 scholarship. He also received the $25,000-a-year Boswell Scholarship, which honors Corcoran high school graduates, from the J.G. Boswell Foundation.
In the fall, Brandon will major in computer science as an incoming member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College at California State University, Fresno.
Will he try to make perfect attendance in college a goal?
"Well, I'm not sure," Brandon replied, "but I would like to set a goal to attend all of my classes."
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