For one Camas family, showing up to school — on time, every single day — has become a unique tradition.
This weekend, as Camas High School celebrates its Class of 2020 graduates with a virtual ceremony, Becca Knight will become the sixth member of her family to graduate from Camas High School with the distinction of never missing a day of elementary, middle or high school.
She follows in the footsteps of her siblings, all of whom were Camas High graduates with perfect attendance records: sisters, Stephanie (Class of 2017), Hillary (Class of 2008), Allie (Class of 2010) and Kimi (Class of 2013) and brother, Mikey (Class of 2015).
Although their parents, Nadine and Kelly Knight, supported their efforts, it was the Knight children who set their minds to achieving perfect attendance records.
“We didn’t really set out to do that,” said Nadine Knight. “But after a few kids, it was like, ‘This is amazing.'”
After watching their older siblings meet their attendance goals, the younger Knight children also made plans to never miss a school day, Nadine said.
“They made a commitment to do this. They didn’t have ‘skip days,’ they made a conscious effort to be at school,” she added.
Becca, 18, said she’s aspired to have perfect attendance all of her school life.
“I was 6 years old when my oldest sibling graduated from high school, so this was something that was just kind of ingrained in my mind,” Becca said. “It was not that big of a deal to me. Once I committed to going to school every day, it wasn’t hard. I never had the thought of, ‘Let me just skip school today.’ That was never a temptation for me.”
Many of Knight children have said they attribute their ability to ward off colds, flus and other illnesses — and therefore not even have to take a sick day during their K-12 school years — to drinking a tiny bit of vinegar each morning.
“We would mix the vinegar into another drink,” Becca said. “It really helps with your immune system.”
Showing up for school, in Becca’s case, also meant going to bed early and waking up way before most of her peers. During her freshman year, she also took a “zero period” class at Camas High and had to go to a seminary class for her church before her actual school day even started.
“I had to be (at seminary class) at 5:20 in the morning,” Becca said. “It was really just my will pulling me through that. I committed to going to sleep early and doing my homework as soon as possible.”
She dropped the zero-period class during her subsequent high school years, but still woke up early enough to attend seminary class before school.
At Camas High, Becca found her tribe in the high school marching band and said she loved playing her trombone and traveling to football games with her bandmates.
“All of my family members have been a part of the band,” Becca said. “I started in sixth grade with the trombone and just really love it. I loved traveling on the bus with everybody for football games. Even if our teams were playing against each other, we made friends.”
Becca also was involved in sports, playing basketball during her early school years, volleyball in eighth grade and competing in track and field events since the sixth grade.
She said she was looking forward to competing in the high jump for the Camas High track and field team this year, and was dismayed when the spring season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I loved it so much,” Becca said of her track and field participation. “I made it to state (in 2019) and was hoping to make it to state this year.”
Since the start of the stay-home orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, Becca said she has enjoyed sleeping in a little bit — she still wakes up by 7 a.m. on the weekdays — and has become closer to her mother, since the two women sit at the table together, each doing her own work on her own computer.
“I’ve been staying indoors, spending time with my family, reading, working on school assignments and facetime and texting my friends,” Becca said.
Last week, the Camas High senior celebrated her 18th birthday and found an apartment on the Brigham Young University, Idaho (BYU-I) campus, which she plans to share with her older sister next year.
Becca also is following in the footsteps of several of her siblings who have gone into medical fields. She earned her certified nursing assistant (CNA) degree during her senior year of high school and plans to major in nursing at BYU-I.
Although her upcoming graduation commencement ceremony, which will be held virtually on Friday, June 12, isn’t the graduation she expected, Becca said she is still looking forward to it.
“I’m just so grateful that it’s even happening and that the school has planned some sort of graduation,” Becca said. “I’m grateful they allowed us to send in videos … I’m planning to get dressed up (in her cap and gown) and watch the ceremony.”