TRAVERSE CITY — A local graduate’s impressive accomplishment went unnoticed in the recent hullabaloo of post-school year awards and recognition.
Skylar Thompson graduated from Traverse City Central High School with a perfect attendance record — through all 13 years of her K-12 education.
Thompson, a National Honor Society president who was involved in band, orchestra, debate, track and Central’s advanced science, math and technology curriculum, humbly explained her attendance accolade was simply lost in her classmates’ successes.
“I was fortunate to be in a really motivated class,” she said.
But Traverse City Public Schools Associate Superintendent Jayne Mohr said Thompson’s achievement was special.
“I’m not aware of a perfect attendance pattern like Skylar has,” said Mohr, who has been involved in education for 34 years. “It’s an exceptional accomplishment.”
Thompson’s perfect attendance streak started at Eastern Elementary School and carried through to East Middle School. Extra curricular activities like the debate team forced her to occasionally miss class once she got to high school, and by then academic success motivated her to limit classroom absences as much as possible.
“(Perfect attendance) was never really an overall goal,” Thompson said. “The goal was really to do well in high school. Perfect attendance made that easier to do.”
Thompson, a 4.0 student, admitted she got lucky along the way; she’s never been down and out with a serious illness, unlike her older brother Spencer Thompson. He gradated from Central in 2010 with his own perfect attendance tarnished by one day spent in the hospital with a bad bug.
Skylar Thompson said she and her brother always treated school like a job, and the siblings’ parents Patricia and Bob Thompson declined to take credit for their children’s diligence.
“Really, the kids just created a family culture that said school was important,” Bob Thompson said.
Retired TCAPS Principal Sue Zell, Skylar Thomspon’s elementary school principal, stayed in touch with her family over the years. Zell said Skylar Thompson even declined several chances to go on vacations with friends because the trips would have forced her to miss school.
“No, no no, she stayed the course,” Zell said. “I think that work ethic is her strongest attribute.”
Thompson will enter Grand Valley State University this fall, where she’ll technically start as a sophomore, thanks to all of her Advance Placement college credits.
She plans to pursue a biology major and a business minor at Grand Valley’s honors college on her way to veterinary school.