RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — What is the longest you’ve ever gone without taking a sick day? A year, or a couple of years?

As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, Riverhead High School senior Karla Vanston has had perfect attendance for 13 years – all the way back since kindergarten.

School principal Charles Regan is used to handing students certificates for perfect attendance – but never one like this.

“We’ve had some students – you know – one, two, three, four years perfect attendance,” Regan said. “But since kindergarten to now? That’s a pretty rare feat.”

But Vanston has never, ever missed a day of school – not for illness, family vacations, or anything.

“Even if it was just one class, I realized that I would get behind and miss important things, so it became a thing where I just never wanted to miss,” Vanston said. “And once I got to high school, I was like: ‘OK, I made it this far. Why would I miss a day now?’”

To her teachers, Vanston is the iron woman of perfect attendance.

“When I found out that she’s been 13 years, it doesn’t surprise me that she got this,” said chemistry teacher Dr. Lawrence Mandresh. “I’ve had more days sick than she did.”

The on-time teen makes the most of her class time. She is a National Honor student and is already taking college courses while maintaining a 98 average.

Vanston is also a slugging first baseman for the school softball team, and she doesn’t miss games or practices either.

“She did play with bumps, bangs and bruises and some things you know, maybe that many other players would sit out for, but not her,” said assistant softball coach David McKillop.

Vanston credits her mother with setting a good example by never calling in sick to her own assistant teacher’s job.

“It’s just always been a thing with my family – even with my brothers – that we just never really miss school,” Vanston said.

Carolyn Vanston said she can see her daughter taking a break down the road. That is, after college.

Vanston won a scholarship that will mostly pay for her psychology studies at Stony Brook University.


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