New Castle News


June 7, 2014

Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

NEW CASTLE — They say nobody’s perfect.

But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was.

When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

She is the first in four years to accomplish that feat at Shenango, according to senior high guidance counselor Julia Garda.

“It’s such an outstanding accomplishment,” Garda said. “And she was also very active in student organizations (National Honor Society, rock band, marching band, SAAD and SAVE Club), meaning that she spent many hours before and after school, too.”

For Jenna, an elementary school career without absence turned into a full-fledged mission once she hit junior high.

“My seventh-grade year, it sorta started clicking that a lot of kids had missed school, and they were like ‘Wow, you’ve never missed a day in elementary school,’ and that was sort of a big thing for me,” she said. “I wanted to continue through my high school career, too. I just thought that it was a really cool thing to do.

“So at that point, it became a goal for me.”

Still, six additional years without missing a day of classes wasn’t always easy, especially when she was feeling under the weather.

“If I was sick, I would go to school and stay until the time I knew you could go home and it wouldn’t count as an absence,” she said. “I did that a number of times.

“And there were definitely times when I’d just rather have stayed home and slept in. I know a number of kids do. But I had a goal for myself that I set in seventh grade and I just really wanted to achieve it.”

Simply showing up, though, was not Jenna’s style.

“I take my grades really seriously,” the honor graduate added. “I got honor roll all this year, too. That was important to me.

“I really like coming to school, and I think that’s something that is really important. You can’t slack off and expect to do well in life.”

Her efforts along those lines have not gone unnoticed.

“When you see someone like Jenna going above and beyond,” Garda said, “it is an inspiration not only for other students, but for the staff, too.”

Jenna’s classmates, meanwhile, couldn’t resist tempting her one last time.

“Even now, on the last day of our senior year after the awards assembly, they said, ‘You have to skip a day just to do it. You already got your award,’ ” said Jenna, who will attend Edinboro University to study speech and hearing sciences. “But that defeats the purpose.

 “I’ve never missed anything. Even with extracurricular activities, I’ve never missed any of those. It’s just really important to me to be on time and to take part in things that I made a commitment to.”

(Reporter David Burcham contributed to this story.)


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