LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Joseph Caleb Cordell, 18, and graduating from Lincolnton High School this weekend, logs many hours each week working in the kitchen at Chick-fil-A, scouring for records online and at thrift stores, and playing guitar. His time management skills have been perfected with his perfect attendance in school since Pre-K.
Cordell doesn’t just show up to school; he excels. He has made valuable connections at school in the JROTC department and with school administrators. He received a Red Cross cord at Awards Day last month for his blood donations, and he also earned a safety certificate in construction from the School of Technology.
Lincolnton High School Principal Tony Worley said: “I congratulate and thank Joseph for his perfect attendance throughout his school life! It is rare today to find a student with perfect attendance but Joseph has proven it is possible. Maintaining good attendance is important in school and work. We wish Joseph the best!”
Dylyn Miller, 18 and also graduating from Lincolnton High School this weekend, has known Cordell since the third grade and watched him on this journey. She said: “It still amazes me that he stayed in school every day to achieve his goal of attending every day of school. In high school on exam week when most would simply skip class, Joe stayed just because of his perfect attendance. That is something that takes deep self-control to remain focused enough on your goal that has lasted 13 years.”
Perfect attendance is important to Cordell because he links it to success in education. Quoting movie director Woody Allen he said, “80% of success is just showing up.” Lucky for Cordell, his health was great all throughout his K-12 career, and he only got sick during holiday breaks from school.
His dad, Brion Cordell, said, “13 years of applying himself to not miss a day has helped him learn of perseverance and how to keep going in the face of adversity, even when you don’t feel like it.”
Looking toward the future, Cordell wants to build on the success he had in high school. He said, “I plan to soon be a team trainer at Chick-fil-A while going to school for agriculture and farm management.”
--- Melissa Cordell is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies. Her primary interests are North Carolina politics, feminist readings of horror films, and spending time her with black cat Salem.
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