Courtesy of Erika Cowger, Lyon County School District
A life-long student of Lyon County School District (LCSD) graduates from Fernley High School tomorrow and will do so with the incredible accomplishment of perfect attendance since kindergarten. You heard that right, 13 years of perfect attendance.
Austin Handka, a current senior at Fernley High School, was able to provide LCSD with some insight into his incredible accomplishment. He grew up in Fernley where he attended Fernley Elementary School in kindergarten, Cottonwood Elementary School for his remaining primary years, Fernley Intermediate School, Silverland Middle School and most currently Fernley High School.
Perfect attendance was not something Handka was actively working toward or even knew he was accomplishing until he reached high school, where he found out he could get a laptop if he had perfect attendance for his four high school years.
“Going to school for all 12/13 is just a bonus,” he said.
When asked if there were ever any days in those 13 years that he just didn’t feel 100-percent up to going to school, Handka admits that there were maybe a few times, but he was always motivated by his dad, who would tell him that showing up is half the battle.
With that motivation in mind, “I would do the easy part and get myself to school,” he said.
Senior year sometimes presents student-initiated activities like “Senior Ditch Days” although the move to remote distance learning changed this, among many things, for the Class of 2020. However, even if this class had been in school, Handka says he probably would have ignored those days because he doesn’t mind going to school and doesn’t see the point in skipping. Additionally, he enjoys participating in bowling tournaments and says he had to cut a few short over the years to ensure he didn’t miss school the next day.
Now, with voluntary stay home from school days out of the question for Handka, he says that he was fortunate in never falling too sick for school during his 13 years – fortunately/unfortunately, he says that he always seemed to get sick or feel his worst on a weekend, holiday or some kind of break.
Since realizing he was on track for perfect attendance for his K-12 career, Handka says the best part is getting the recognition and also seeing the surprised look on the faces of those who realize what he has accomplished. Being in school every day also means many opportunities to create lasting memories – Handka shares that his favorite memories will be of his weights class, spending time with friends and learning new things in class. With the remote distance learning, he was unable to hit his max goal in the squat, bench and cleans, which he was hoping to do.
Next up, Handka will continue onto college and eventually wants to work in law enforcement, IT or business management.