Seymour senior finishes school career with perfect attendance

For one more math lesson, Peyton Levine calculated the number of days she attended school over the years.

Preschool at Zion Lutheran School, kindergarten through eighth grade at St. Ambrose Catholic School and ninth through 12th grades at Seymour High School added up to 2,340 days.

She didn’t miss one of them.

The 18-year-old finished her senior year doing eLearning because of the COVID-19 pandemic and wound up with perfect attendance for her school career.

“My mom (Michelle) was like, ‘It’s 13 years,’ and I’m like, ‘I guess that’s pretty awesome now that I think about it,’” Peyton said of the accomplishment.

While she received a plaque for perfect attendance at St. Ambrose, that feat isn’t something she really thought about through high school.

“I will be honest, I never really had a reason to not go to school,” Peyton said. “I know some days, it was hard and I really wish I was somewhere else, but I knew I was only benefiting from it. It’s just something I just do. I don’t really think about it.”

On Thursday, Principal Greg Prange recognized Peyton for her perfect attendance during the school’s virtual honor day ceremony. She will have a medal to wear when the Class of 2020 participates in graduation May 31.

Prange said a student going 13 years with perfect attendance doesn’t happen very often. His son, Skylar, and classmates Zach Thompson and Luke Schnitker accomplished the feat in 2009, and his daughter, Piper, did it in 2011.

“It’s a very special award to me personally because both of my children did it,” Prange said. “It truly is amazing.”

Seymour High School keeps track of attendance, and Prange relies on parents to bring it to his attention if their child has not missed any days in elementary and middle school.

“It’s a great characteristic for students to have,” he said. “I love that they and the parents value their education and being here and the commitment and responsibility. Those are all qualities that future employers are going to really, really benefit from. It’s a great character-building exercise to have.”

Prange said he recently called his son to tell him about Peyton’s perfect attendance.

“It’s an intrinsic award,” Prange said. “As important as attendance is, it seems to be less important to more and more people, but for a young lady like this to have that goal and attain that achievement, it’s really, really remarkable. For Peyton to accomplish that task is a great accomplishment, and I’m sure she will be very, very beneficial to her college in the future and her future employer.”

It’s also impressive because Peyton balanced her academics with participating in tennis, golf, Riley Dance Marathon, 4-H, her church youth group and volunteering.

“I like to prioritize, so I would try to use my time either doing work or doing all of my sports,” she said. “I learned from freshman year doing homework on the bus is not going to work. You’ve got your friends, you’ve got music, you’re just going to talk, so I didn’t even bother.”

She preferred to stay up late if she had to complete her work.

“I liked to get my stuff done that night and then go to bed instead of going to bed early and waking up earlier,” she said. “I just stayed up later to do my work then.”

Peyton encourages other students to take school seriously and be there every day if possible.

“I would just say that it’s super important,” she said. “It pays off in the end with your education, and just personally, I didn’t skip for anything. I just went.”

She also was fortunate that illness never prevented her from being at school.

For her younger brother, Andrew, however, that is a bitter topic.

“He has only missed one day of school, and that was in first grade,” Michelle said. “Peyton was sick over a weekend and was well by Monday to go to school. Andrew got up that Monday morning and started vomiting. Therefore, he had to miss that day, and that is the only day that he has missed in 11 years.”

Peyton said she never got sick enough where she thought she needed to stay home.

“If I was sick, I just toughed it out. I just went to school,” she said. “Even though I wanted to go home so bad, I was like, ‘I’ve just got to stay.’”

After graduation, Peyton is headed to Ball State University in Muncie to study elementary education. She hopes to someday teach third grade.

“It’s a good age to me because they are still new to everything, but they are not ABC’s, 1-2-3,’” she said.

So will she try to maintain perfect attendance through college, too?

“I guess I will,” she said, smiling. “I know my mom will definitely be onto me for that. I don’t have any intentions of not going to class.”