Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Student never absent reaps reward

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN - As a 4-year-old attending a cousin's graduation, Tia Leedy was impressed when a senior was recognized for perfect attendance.

        The then preschooler tugged her mother's skirt, looked up and said, “Mommy, someday I'm going to do that.”

Tia Leedy
        That day comes Friday when Tia accepts her Middletown High School diploma and is recognized for perfect attendance — from kindergarten through high school.

        “If I was sick, I kept going,” said Tia, 17. “I knew in kindergarten I didn't want to miss school. I kept going and going.”

        When she didn't feel well one time in third grade, Tia said she made it through the day by skipping recess and putting her head down on her desk whenever she could. As a freshman, when her grandmother died, the funeral was set for 3 p.m. - so Tia wouldn't miss class.

        Even a fender bender accident in her freshman year that made her five minutes late didn't ruin her perfect attendance.

        “It was hard doing it this year with senioritis,” Tia said. “I would hear about these senior skip days from friends, but I never skipped. My friends kept saying I was crazy, but I kept going.”

        Tia said her grandparents helped her resolve by giving her money each year that she had perfect attendance. But even when they died, she kept up her resolve — and plans to carry it to Miami University's Middletown Campus this fall.

        “I promised my grandparents I'd keep going. I accomplished my goal.”

        Superintendent Wayne Driscoll said the feat says a lot of about Tia's character and the principles of her family.

        “It's pretty rare, especially when you think of all those things that could go wrong. This gives me a lot of hope for the future of our kids and them as leaders of our society.”

        For her efforts Tia received a free computer from the D. Russel Lee Career-Technology Center, where she studied health. She has been a patient care assistant at Middletown Regional Hospital almost a year and plans to continue working there this summer.

        Tia is the daughter of Lynn Blazer and Archie Leedy.


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