They saw their older sister work every year toward her goal of getting perfect attendance.
And twins Eric and Ethan Dougherty have to get up and work at their family farm in Clark Township 365 days a year. Attending school daily for 13 years was no sweat when compared to the work they have to do on the farm.
The duo will graduate Whiteland Community High School without having missed a day of school in 13 years.
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They credit their perfect attendance with staying healthy, a slight competition with their sister and the desire to do the right thing by their farm and school, the teens said.
No other public school district reported any seniors who had maintained perfect attendance for 13 years.
“Once we got most of the way through, you might as well finish strong,” said Eric Dougherty.
Their older sister, Emily, graduated with perfect attendance after her mother, Amy, told her about a teen she read about in the newspaper who had not missed a single day of school in 13 years.
Eric and Ethan saw what Emily had done and they were slightly competitive to see if they could do the same thing, Amy Dougherty said.
By the time they reached eighth grade and had yet to miss a day, they decided they would do what they could to make sure the streak continued, they said.
“(We decided) to just do it and be done with it,” said Ethan Dougherty.
The duo work on their farm in Clark Township daily, whether they attend school or not. And they would have to get up eventually to do chores and other farm work.
When they think that they have to get up and work every day, no matter what, it was easy to get up for school, they said.
And trying to keep up good attendance and doing the right thing and getting the job done is a value lesson for life, Eric said.
“Everyone should have that mentality, no matter what in life, you do what you have to do,” said Eric Dougherty.
Going to school was easier than not most days, he said.
The idea of having to grab missed notes from a peer or have to work extra hard when they returned helped them want to keep their perfect attendance record.
“It was easier to not have to make stuff up,” said Eric Dougherty.
The pair were fortunate to escape any major illnesses that sidelined them from school. They credit what they believe to be their strong immune systems to the hard work they did on the farm.
They were away from the classroom on school sanctioned FFA trips. Surgeries and appointments always waited until the summer or after school, said Amy Dougherty.
“It always worked out,” she said.
Eric and Ethan finished their high school career at mid-term, earning enough high school credit so they could spend the spring farming. They plan on continuing to work on the family farm after they get their diploma.
They will walk with their peers at Whiteland Community High School’s graduation, not missing it. As always.