NH1 News Investigates Robbed of Recognition: Perfect attendance no longer an award at Pinkerton Academy
DERRY – A Pinkerton Academy student never missed a single day of class.
Now she feels snubbed by the school.
She said half-way through her school career, the rules changed.
Now Ashley Walalis said she feels like she got a raw deal.
Some say that she just wants her 15 seconds of fame by going on television and telling people she wants an award.
She knows that people will say, "Big deal, you had perfect attendance."
But let's play devil's advocate for a minute.
How many of those nay-sayers never missed a day of school in 12 years?
And be honest about it.
When asked if she was the only one, Walalis said, “Yeah.”
Walalis returned to her alma mater just weeks after graduation and showed us her softball gear, varsity letter, yearbooks, and awards.
But she said there's something she doesn’t have.
“I wanted to make it my own goal to finish out the 12 years with perfect attendance - even though some days I really didn't want to go to school,” she said.
But her father made sure she did.
He also said he feels his daughter should get some recognition.
“If kids can do it, they should be able to get some kind of gratitude or something out of it," Alfred Walalis, said.
They said the rules changed a few years ago when the H1N1 virus (widely known as swine flu) hit.
They said schools asked students to stay home if they didn’t feel well so they wouldn’t spread the virus.
“Up until a couple of years ago, there were scholarships given out and there isn't even that anymore,” Alfred said.
Of course, to a lot of people, that makes sense.
So we sent the Headmaster of Pinkerton, Griffon Morse, several emails.
His first response?
“We are not at liberty to discuss any individual students and their records.”
His second response?
“I do not know of any such distinction at Pinkerton (or any of the 10 schools I have worked at)..." he wrote. "We have given out literally hundreds of awards ... but I know of none like the kind Ashley has achieved. I have been in the workplace since 1979 and never missed a day of work for anything but an operation on my toes one morning, and I was back in my office by noon, and no one has offered me any award.”
And to all those who say she's just looking for publicity?
“For other students after me,” Ashley said. “Keep up the hard work. You can go to school with perfect attendance.”
But for now, a hug with dad will just have to do it.
So will this perfect attendance streak continue?
Ashley's headed to college this fall to the University of Rhode Island where she'll be studying pre-veterinary medicine.