MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Chances are not many people can say they went to every single day of school for 12 years straight.
Zachary Ford can. The recent Myrtle Beach High School graduate is one of 61 South Carolina seniors who were recognized by the state Department of Education for perfect attendance.
It’s an incredible milestone indeed, so how did he do it?
“I don’t know; I don’t get sick, so there’s no reason for me not to come to school," Ford said. “I got sick probably over the past five years, probably two times and it was all over Christmas break. I had the flu my sophomore year and I got sick my freshman year.”
Perfect school attendance runs in Ford’s family. In fact, he credits his mom for encouraging him.
“My brother, he had it all the way up into eighth grade or seventh grade and then he broke his nose, so my mom was like, ‘Well, since he didn’t get it, you’re going to get it,’ so she kind of made me," Ford said.
At times Ford heard pressure from his friends to miss school.
“It was really hard this year because it was senior skip day so they were like, ‘Are you going to skip?’ I was like, ‘No, I can’t; I’ve made it this far, so I might as well just finish.’ So I came to school half a day, I got counted for the day and I just signed out," he said. "So it’s tough. They’ll want you to do things, go on trips or do things and you have to turn it down; you have perfect attendance.”
Even while Ford played baseball all four years of high school, he still stayed focused.
“Sometimes if the game was really far away, we would get home late. Tt would be extra stress, but other than that it was fine. After a while I just got used to it.”
Ford also played one year of football as a cornerback, which happened to be the same year the Seahawks won the state championship. He credits Seahawk pride for all the support.
“It’s a great community, whether it be sports or show choir. They really support the school and I love that," Ford said. "Just the teachers here, they are all amazing. They just want you to succeed.”
While attending every day of school, Ford was a part of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club, and held a 3.9 grade point average. For his senior year, Ford volunteered to pass out food and fill sand bags for Hurricane Florence victims. He also assisted the March of Dimes with passing out school supplies for children who are in need.
For all the students thinking perfect attendance is impossible, Ford had one piece of advice.
“I just tell myself if you want to live this way when you get older, only way you’re going to get is through education. Try to come to school every day that you can. It’s really tough trying to stay on track if you’re missing a bunch of days. Try to show up and do the work and stay on track. It’ll be easier for the long run; it’ll get you ready for college.”
Ford plans to attend Clemson University in the fall to study architecture.