Never missing or skipping a day, RHS graduate gets his due

The incredibly healthy Sean Tierney on his graduation day, which marked 13 years of never having missed a day of school.

The incredibly healthy Sean Tierney on his graduation day, which marked 13 years of never having missed a day of school.

It’s not quite as long as Cal Ripken’s streak of 2,632 consecutive baseball games, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.

Sean Tierney, who apparently does very little sneezing, graduated Robbinsville High School on June 21 with a different ironman record: 2,340 days of perfect attendance. That’s 13 years of school without ever calling out sick.

“That’s a fantastic stretch of good health,” Schools Superintendent Steve Mayer told Tierney at the June 25 Board of Education meeting when Tierney was recognized and presented with a certificate. “Quite an impressive accomplishment!”

While one might be tempted to chock this feat up to an incredibly strong immune system, or just incredibly good luck, the fact is none of this would have been possible if Sean didn’t also have an incredibly strong work ethic. Even Senior Skip Day in late June didn’t tempt him to play hooky and break his commitment to finishing the year, and his K-12 career, with perfect attendance.

“All my friends were at the beach that day, but I wanted to see this through to the end,” Tierney said. “I wanted that satisfaction for myself.”

Before the school board meeting, Tierney’s parents, grandmother, his younger siblings, and other relatives gathered in the hallway, awaiting his spotlight moment. Tierney’s mother, Yvonne, and grandmother, Pat Horton, chatted about how the teenager blessed with such good health now was once a premature infant who spent a week in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

“He’s a pretty big healthy kid for someone who was such a sick little baby,” his grandmother said with a laugh.

Yvonne Tierney said her son also spent a lot of time at the pediatrician’s office as a toddler, but all the ear infections and other illnesses stopped by the time he started kindergarten in the Hamilton School District. His perfect school attendance continued after the Tierney family moved to Robbinsville.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Board of Education Vice President Carol Boyne presents recent Robbinsville High School graduate Sean Tierney with a certificate of recognition for a perfect K-12 school attendance record.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Board of Education Vice President Carol Boyne presents recent Robbinsville High School graduate Sean Tierney with a certificate of recognition for a perfect K-12 school attendance record.

That’s not to say Tierney never once got sick, it just didn’t happen during the school year. The summer between fifth and sixth grades at Pond Road Middle School he caught Lyme disease, his mother said, but the only thing he missed were Little League baseball games. By the time school reopened in September, he had recovered, she said.

Tierney’s perfect attendance streak continued at RHS where he defied both germs and sports-related injuries his entire high school career. Tierney ran on the school’s track and cross-country teams, and also played basketball without ever sustaining the sprains, fractures or concussions that sometimes sideline student athletes.

In the fall, Tierney will be studying criminal justice at West Chester University, and board members had one burning question about that.

“Are you going to have perfect attendance there?” Board of Education Vice President Carol Boyne asked Tierney.

Tierney smiled politely, but made no predictions.

If he plans to voluntarily end the 2,340-day streak in Rifkin-like fashion on his own terms by skipping  just one 8 a.m. Friday class, he wasn’t telling.


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