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Auto provides attendance incentive

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By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

Colton Fogelberg started kindergarten at Kibler Elementary School and didn't miss a day. He didn't miss a day of school in first grade, or second grade, or third grade. He kept his classroom-attendance streak going through his elementary career and then carried it through Enumclaw middle and high schools.

By Thursday, the last official school day for seniors, Colton Fogelberg had finished with perfect attendance.

“I always seemed to get sick on breaks and weekends. I got the chicken pox during the summer,” Fogelberg said. “I guess I got pretty lucky never being sick.

“I actually made a deal with my dad - he'd buy me a car if I graduated and never missed a day.”

Will Fogelberg set the plan in motion around the time Colton started school. His inspiration came from a story he had heard where a father made a similar pact with his son.

“I thought it was pretty good incentive,” Will said.

He thought it would be easy for Colton in elementary school, but knew it would get tougher for him through middle and high school.

“The chances of him making it were so slim,” Will said.

Colton said it became habit and routine.

“I'm used to going to school every day,” he said.

After a while it was even a game. As Colton started nearing the end of his senior year, classmates would start to wonder if “the streak” would be broken when he showed up a bit late.

“If I'm a few minutes late people think I'm going to be gone,” he said. “I made it this far I didn't want to blow it.”

Colton was honored by the school during the Senior Awards ceremony June 4.

“I've been here 20 years and I've never seen it,” EHS attendance office secretary Mavis Martinson said. “It's a huge deal. It's important. It's really a big deal.”

Martinson said she often fields inquiries from employers about students' attendance. EHS has an attendance policy where students lose credit after 12 days out of the classroom. Martinson said students push the rule to 11 days.

“He's an amazing kid,” she said.

Doing the math, and basing those 13 years on an 180-day school year, that's 2,340 days in the classroom. There were some excused absences, which aren't strikes against the count, like going to camp, which Colton did both as a sixth-grade student and again as a high school counselor.

He hasn't picked out a set of wheels yet.

“In sixth grade he started talking about a Lamborghini or Ferarri. I had to say, ‘Colton, within reason,'” Will said.

As the goal became closer and reality started setting in Colton and Will talked about changing the car into investment money or a house down payment. In the end, Colton decided on the car as an investment. Following his father's interest in classic cars, Colton is looking at older-model muscle cars that through time will turn a pretty penny.

A bonus for Will was Colton's focus on perfect attendance helped his grades.

He's headed to Bellevue Community College to study fire science. Thursday night he received his volunteer honors from the Enumclaw Fire Department.

Colton doesn't think he'll keep the attendance streak going into college.

“I'll skip a day,” he said. “Just because I can.”

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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