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April 18, 2014

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Education:

Las Vegas High senior ends K-12 years on perfect notes

Student earns rare feat: straight A’s and no absences each year of classes

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Leila Navidi

Las Vegas High School valedictorian Natasha Greene accepts her diploma during her commencement ceremony on the school’s football field in Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Greene has had perfect attendance and perfect grades since kindergarten.

Perfect Grad Natasha Greene

Las Vegas High School valedictorian Natasha Greene attends her commencement ceremony on the school's football field in Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Greene has had perfect attendance and perfect grades since kindergarten. Launch slideshow »

Natasha Greene's 5 tips for achieving perfect attendance

• Set two or more alarm clocks to make sure you never oversleep and miss the beginning of the school day.

• Stay current on flu shots, eat healthy and try to get a reasonable amount of sleep (with try being the operative word).

• Keep the mindset that, to get the most out of your classes, you must be present.

• Focus on reasons to be at school rather than on excuses to stay home.

• While it may seem overwhelming to think about having perfect attendance for years, it really is doable if you just take it one day at a time!

When Natasha Greene was in elementary school, she set herself a lofty goal: Make it to graduation without missing a single day of school.

Last Friday, the 18-year-old senior did just that, graduating from Las Vegas High School with a perfect attendance record from kindergarten through 12th grade.

That means for the past 13 years — or 2,340 school days — Greene has never missed a day of school. Not a single one.

Not only that, Greene finished her schooling with a perfect 4.0 GPA, becoming a valedictorian of her high school.

Talk about a perfect student.

"It was something that after I started, I wasn't about to stop," Greene said, smiling. "My grades are very important to me, and I didn't want to get behind."

Green chalks up her rare accomplishment to luck, endurance and determination.

When Greene was nearly 4 years old, she suffered a massive hemorrhage after a routine tonsillectomy. She was hospitalized for about a week after losing more than half of her blood.

"She almost didn't make it," her mother, Sonya Greene, said. "But she came back healthier than ever."

For the next 13 years, Natasha Greene was lucky enough to never fall ill — at least during the school year.

Click to enlarge photo

Las Vegas High School valedictorian Natasha Greene attends her commencement ceremony on the school's football field in Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Greene has had perfect attendance and perfect grades since kindergarten.

"I always had my flu shot early and I was vaccinated for everything," she said. "The vaccinations must work really well. I only got sick during the holidays."

Natasha Greene was also seemingly immune to "senioritis," a common affliction among high school seniors. Toward the end of the senior year, some students start missing classes and letting their grades slip.

Despite taking four Advanced Placement classes and signing up for myriad extracurricular activities — such as choir and Nevada Youth Legislature — Natasha Greene's work ethic and grades never wavered. And even during senior cut day, when many students play hooky, Greene was determined to maintain her perfect record.

"It was kind of hard knowing that's a tradition I didn't get to be a part of, but it's worth it now," she said. "I wasn't about to miss a day of school for breakfast at iHop at noon."

Natasha Greene credited her parents — her attorney dad and her stay-at-home mom — for instilling in her the importance of hard work and education.

"My parents always said, 'Whatever grades you get, just do your best," she said. "It wasn't OK with me. I knew that my best was to reach my goals."

To support Natasha, the Greenes decided early on that school was going to be their family's top priority, said Sonya Greene, a longtime parent volunteer.

That has meant rescheduling doctor's and dentist's appointments as well as missing some vacations with extended family, including a December cruise when Natasha was in seventh grade.

Click to enlarge photo

Las Vegas High School valedictorian Natasha Greene shows off her perfect attendance plaque during her commencement ceremony on the school's football field in Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Greene has had perfect attendance and perfect grades since kindergarten.

"It wasn't a question; it wasn't a debate. When school's in session, that's where she should be," Sonya Greene said. "We shouldn't plan things that take her away from that."

"We only get so much time of free education," Natasha Greene added. "Why not take full advantage of it?"

Last month, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky presented Natasha Greene with a special plaque to commemorate her accomplishment. Although a few students have graduated with perfect grades, it's a rare feat to graduate with perfect attendance as well.

"I know it's just being there, but just being there all the time is a pretty amazing feat," Sonya Greene said, beaming. "She's been a wonderful daughter. We're very proud of what she's accomplished."

This fall, Natasha Greene will be heading to Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University in New York. She plans to study premedicine and says she hopes to continue her perfect record.

"I'm going to do my best, but I'm not going to stress myself so much (about maintaining perfect attendance and grades)," she said. "At that level, it'll be a lot more challenging, but I'm going to try my absolute hardest to be there for every single class.

"You have to be there to learn. You need to be present to succeed."

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  1. What a great school with wonderful students. Ms. Greene always had a smile when I saw her in the halls at LVHS. Nice to read this great story about her and her families support for her education. I wish the sun and lvrj would concentrate more on these stories, or at least acknowledge the large population of fantastic students and staff when they report on larger CCSD material. Thanks for making my day over here in Norway Natasha. Enjoy your summer, you deserve it :)

  2. While heart-warming, this story cannot possibly be true. I have read on numerous other threads that CCSD is so bad that no one who studies there can get a decent education; that the administration is corrupt and incompetent; that teachers are self-serving greedheads who only care about 3 month vacations; that the greedy Teachers Union is only out to destroy education; and so ad infinitum. There is obviously no possible way for a student, no matter how dedicated, to overcome the morass of neglect, incompetence and ignorance to which they are subjected. Let's keep the meme properly focused...there is nothing good about CCSD, it is a miserable failure and we ought only to give parents vouchers.

  3. If more children and young adults had this attitude toward school, backed by their parents, our school system would be a better place.

    Great job Natasha! And good luck in college!

  4. Congratulations to Natasha!

    She showed that anyone that wants to be personally responsible for their lives can do anything they want too.

    She had parents that knew this also and got behind her on it. That is what it takes.

    She should be proud that she showed she is one of the winners in what people consider a losing system All you have to do is do it!

    This is the type of students they "leaders" should be looking at. Not those that fail. Do what she does and you will make something of you life.

    Great job!

  5. I'ts great to see another human being with that much drive. I hope she applies that to everything she does.

  6. What an awesome achievement! The recognition is well-deserved. Thank you for setting an example of excellence. Good luck at Barnard!

  7. Way to take care of business! Keep it up!