Stefanie Zaner is not your typical high school senior. She has never, not even once, missed a day of school. She has made it through 2,340 straight days of public school in Darnestown, Maryland. That’s 180 days a year for 13 years and zero absences.
Zaner’s accomplishment is highly unusual: public schools are a cesspool for germs; families take vacations; seniors need to visit colleges. To find someone who has never missed a single day, and earned straight As for the past nine years, is a very rare thing indeed. In fact, in an informal study of 20 public school systems, there was only one other senior who could boast the same accomplishment.
Zaner said she did not start out in kindergarten wanting to have perfect attendance; it just sort of happened. Her elementary principal awarded students who did not miss any school, and Zaner “really liked being recognized for something.”
Never missing a day of school, despite moving twice and being sick several times in the past 13 years, is a very prestigious accomplishment, but it has not come without a price.
“I didn’t get to do any senior skip days,” Zaner said. “I didn’t get to do any college visits. [The past two years] have probably been the most stressful years of my life. There were times I felt completely overwhelmed and thought I was never going to be able to maintain this image that everyone had of me.”
Zaner’s sophomore math teacher, Carolyn Diggs, describes Zaner as a perfectionist, saying that “nothing less that 100 percent is good enough for her.”
Evidently, 100 percent is all this high school senior needed to be admitted to the honors program at the University of Maryland, where she will study to become a doctor.