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Kaneland Connection: Elburn family’s feat: Perfect attendance

Nora Murphy said she can’t figure out why anyone would want to miss even one day of high school.

“If high school is the best time of your life, you might as well be there every day,” she said.

The 16-year-old Elburn resident is planning to do just that, and she knows she will have plenty of family support.

Perfect attendance is important in the Murphy family, and Murphy and her sisters and brother just completed quite a feat – all four of them achieved a year of perfect attendance at three schools in Kaneland School District 302.

Nora just finished her sophomore year at Kaneland High School. Patrick Murphy, 14, was in eighth grade at Kaneland Harter Middle School. Emily, 11, was in fifth grade at Blackberry Creek Elementary School, and Kara, 9, was in third grade at Blackberry Creek.

The Murphys were close to achieving a family perfect attendance feat last year, but Patrick missed part of a day to go to a “Star Trek” convention. As it is, Nora never has missed a day of high school, and Kara never has missed a day of school.

Individual instances of perfect attendance in a school year aren’t that unusual. Kaneland High School, for instance, hosts an event to recognize such students each spring, and there typically are dozens at the event. But the Murphys are celebrating the family feat. And, although the youngest – Emily and Kara – had their complaints about school, both Nora and Patrick are thrilled with the accomplishment.

The Murphys are active in school. Nora is in choir. Patrick plays baseball. And both Patrick (trombone) and Emily (trumpet) are in band activities. They also have been part of Kaneland’s summer musical in the past.

It’s not that the Murphys don’t get sick.

Their mother, Jennifer, said that seems to happen only during the summer, and sometimes while the family is on vacation. If any of the kids are sick, she said, they wouldn’t attend school.

“I won’t let them go to school with a fever,” Jennifer Murphy said.

Nothing could be done about that, the Murphys say, but both Nora and Patrick say they have talked with classmates who will miss a day merely because they are tired or just don’t feel like going. Patrick said “people get wide-eyed” when they hear about perfect attendance and wonder why that would be important for someone.

“You always notice the kids who choose not to go to school,” Patrick said.

Instead, Nora and Patrick are known as the go-to kids, as in, they’re the ones classmates go to after missing a day of school.

“They come to me because I’m always there,” Nora said.

Nora said she will aim to have perfect attendance through her entire high school experience, and since she’s halfway there, she figures it’s a realistic goal, and she enjoys being known for it.

“It’s nice to have better attendance than your teachers do,” she said with a smile.

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

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