SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Wooten siblings went somewhere together this week where they have gone individually - consistently - all their lives. To school.
"When I was a kid, I didn't know what perfect attendance was. I just knew I went to school every day and it fell into place.”
And it kept falling into place for the Screven County family, who with Luke's graduation last week, did not miss a day of school between them from Pre-K through high school. A combined 42 years of perfect attendance.
"It wasn’t really a mind thing, it was, you got up and went to school. Your body was programmed to go.”
"Everyone claims that perfect attendance or going to school every day is so hard, it really isn't, it's pretty easy. If you just set your mind to it, it isn't hard at all.”
Pam was the first to not miss a day. But the Wooten's commitment to showing up at school started at home, with their mom who is a teacher.
"As an educator, I know how important it is to be at school. You just miss too much ... when you miss class, you miss something you can't make up. So, that's why it was that's what was important to me for them to be there every day, to learn.”
There were close calls, like when Pam had surgery the same night she suffered a tennis injury to avoid a daytime procedure the next day.
"He sewed me up and fixed me up right there and I went home and went to school the next day.
And this year, when Luke misplaced his truck keys and scrambled to get to school minutes before being marked absent.
"I was scared they were going to say that I messed it up and I was scared I wasn't going to be able to come home anymore.”
For the Wootens, the lessons learned from going to school every day every year for 42 school years are now as important as what they were taught in the classroom.
"Stay in school. That's the biggest thing you can tell someone. Like I said if you're not here, you miss an opportunity to learn something.”
"Show up. Be there. Do what you’re supposed to do. Be a positive role model. I hope that’s what they are and what they’ve become is good hard workers and they can be wonderful society members and uphold that tradition.”