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Graduate has perfect attendance record

June 05, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Cory Shank has not missed a day of school in 13 years, and is the only Washington County Public Schools graduate in the class of 2009 able to claim a perfect attendance record.

Shank, who graduated Friday from South Hagerstown High School, said there were some days when he thought, "I don't want to go to school," he said. "But you push through it. I mean, what's the worst thing that's going to happen if you go to school? You'll learn?"

Shank has attended Funkstown Elementary School, now known as the Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education, and E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

"I got up to third or fourth grade and didn't realize (I had perfect attendance), and then we started to catch on that I was getting certificates for perfect attendance," Shank said. "My teachers and parents started really pushing me to come to school every day."

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Some days were tougher than others.

Shank went to school each day of high school through two concussions and a case of mononucleosis.

When he was ill, Shank said his teachers allowed him to work in a room away from other students.

"That was when I was really sick, and it wasn't really bearable," he said. "I could still do the work."

Shank said it was more difficult to force himself to go to school if he didn't feel well in elementary and middle school, but in high school, his involvement in sports, clubs and student government were an incentive to attend.

"It was kind of fun to go to school," he said. "It wasn't really a bad thing."

Shank played football, basketball and baseball at South High and was the senior class president.

He also was involved in several clubs, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America and two peer mentoring groups.

"That helped in high school ... going to school and realizing that I had something I had to do at school every day," he said.

Shank also credits his parents, Jeff and Stephanie Shank, for helping him maintain his perfect attendance record. Cory's father is a physical education teacher at South High, and also is the offensive coordinator for the school's football team.

"He's really a big influence in my life, and helped me push through things," Shank said of his father.

After graduation, Shank said he will attend Frostburg (Md.) State University and plans to study business administration. He also will play football for the university.

He said he will try his best to maintain perfect attendance in college, "but I can't guarantee it."

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