Eboni Hayes is graduating with perfect attendance, never missing a day of school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
"I actually liked going to school every single day," said the Cary High senior, donning her cap and gown outside the school that she hasn't been able to re-enter since mid-March when all public school buildings across the state were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In elementary school...I had to go to school every single day," she said. "But when I got to sixth grade, I started realizing, I have perfect attendance. If I can get through these three years and the next four years, I don't know what's gonna happen."
Her parents, Todd and Trice Hayes, are proud of their daughter, to say the least.
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"She didn't look at it as anything except this is what I'm supposed to do," said Todd. "And I think that humbleness that she had to just be persistent and consistent about getting her education is paying off."
They've watched Eboni set her early morning alarm, head off to school, and stay late for band practice; she played the flute all four years as part of the Cary High School Marching Band.
During the pandemic, Eboni continued her coursework while taking on extra hours at Food Lion as an essential worker.
"She's showing everyone, not just young people, but everyone, that if you put dedication, focus, and determination into anything you can do anything, you can be anything because 90 percent of life is just showing up and she shows up every single day," Trice said.
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Eboni attended Walkertown Elementary in Winston-Salem and then transferred to Morrisville Elementary in Morrisville. She attended East Cary Middle School and will now officially graduate from Cary High School on Wednesday.
From here, she's attending Winston-Salem State University in the fall where she said she'll do her best to attend class every day.
Eboni's parents said there's an error on her transcript, marking her absent for three days in second grade. They're working with the school district's records office to correct it.