Students from left to right: Corbin Trottier, Chidiuto Anunobi, Alejandro Lopez, Rebecca Rodriguez and Christiana Dirks (not pictured: Nicholas Salvo).

Learning and receiving an education would be a valuable factor especially in Rebecca Rodriguez’s household. Rodriguez, who recently graduated from Brandon High School, and five other seniors in Hillsborough County Public Schools were honored for achieving perfect attendance their entire educational career from kindergarten through 12th grade. For 13 straight years, these students attended 2,340 consecutive school days, totaling 180 days each year.

At the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on June 15, all six seniors not only got recognized for their accomplishments but also received a brand-new HP (Hewlett-Packard) laptop and a $500 scholarship from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.

Rodriguez shared how much this all meant to her: “I am grateful for the education that I received since my grandparents did not get the same opportunity because they are immigrants to this country.”

She added, “It was also kind of Principal Dr. Jeremy Klein to attend this.”

During the summer semester, Rodriguez will be attending the University of South Florida to major in behavioral health care. The $500 scholarship from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation will go towards her textbooks.

The five other seniors who received perfect attendance would be: Chidiuto Anunobi from Newsome High School, Christiana Dirks from Plant High School, Alejandro Lopez from Jefferson High School, Nicholas Salvo from Strawberry Crest High School and Corbin Trottier from Plant City High School.

Erin Maloney, department manager of media outreach at Hillsborough County Public Schools, mentioned that, with the pandemic, a noteworthy outcome came about in regards to the students maintaining perfect attendance.

“Although it can be a challenge any year for perfect attendance, one positive aspect that came out of the pandemic would be, if there was a need to quarantine, students could do so in a virtual fashion and continue without entering the building,” Maloney said.

“These students are an exemplar of determination, discipline and perseverance,” Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis said.

“I want to commend the families behind these extraordinary learners who provided a strong support system that allowed each student to thrive and ultimately reach this amazing achievement,” he added.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.