Courtney Imlay, now a senior at Columbus North High School, has not missed a day of school since kindergarten.
That’s 2,287 days.
It’s 13,722 hours of instruction.
And Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent John Quick said it’s also extremely rare.
“Whenever I tell people, they’re shocked,” Imlay said. “They don’t believe me.”
Although the school could not confirm nor deny her record because of privacy laws, secretaries at each school said they don’t see perfect attendance often.
At both public high schools, the front office staffs could remember only one other perfect attendance record in the past 15 to 20 years.
“Of course there were days where I say, ‘I wish I could just stay home,’” Imlay said.
But she never played hooky. She never slept in.
When her cousins came down with chicken pox before Imlay started school, her mom made her spend time with them so she wouldn’t miss regular school later. Courtney Imlay rescheduled her dentist appointment to get her braces taken off outside of school hours. She took her water bottle to school every day so she would not catch any viruses from a water fountain.
“When my brothers would be sick, I remember walking around the house with a Lysol can in hand being ready to spray it when I felt it was needed,” she said.
Imlay said her mother, Tammy Imlay, has been an inspiration to not miss a day of school.
Tammy Imlay works at Columbus Regional Health, so she’s learned the importance of health.
“I’ve always been big on rest and healthy eating,” Tammy Imlay said. “If you’re healthy, you’re not going to miss school.”
Pushing her daughter ahead
The elder Imlay also has acted as a motivator. For each level of school — elementary at Richards and middle at Northside — she has ordered a plaque from Hoosier Sporting Goods for her daughter.
Michelle Spear, now a fifth-grade teacher at Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus, noticed Courtney Imlay’s attendance when she was in her fifth-grade class at Richards and gave her $20.
“The recognition just keeps pushing you,” Courtney Imlay said. “I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”
Imlay also is involved in choir, National Honor Society, Key Cub and Youth Leadership, all reasons she wants to make sure she’s in school every day.
She just has to make it through 53 more school days to complete her perfect attendance record, and she is ready — Lysol in hand.
After that, she plans to attend Indiana University, Purdue University-Indianapolis or Butler University to study finance. She hopes to continue her attendance record through college.
“I want to show that I’m reliable,” she said. “I’m not someone that will call in sick to work or not show up.”