Written by Jeff Vorva
In December, 2008, Paige Stulginskis woke up one day feeling lousy.
Like thousands of students throughout the country, she planned on staying home. She had her mother, Elizabeth, call Conrady Junior High School to tell the attendance office that she would not be coming to school that day.
“I was crying because I didn’t want to miss school,” Paige said.
So she took some “DayQuil or something” and started to feel better.
When her father, Glen, woke up, Paige made a demand.
“I said, ‘Dad! Take me to school!’ ’’ she said.
So she went to school even though her mom was not crazy about the idea.
So why all these years later is this a big deal?
Stulginskis is now a senior at Stagg High School. She has not missed a day of school — ever.
Not as a kindergartner or first-grader at Dorn Primary Center. Not as a second-, third-, fourth-grader at Glen Oaks Grade School.
Not as a sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grader at Conrady.
And not through three-plus years at Stagg.
Stulginskis has been the student’s equivalent of baseball player Cal Ripken Jr., who played 2,131 straight games. She probably would take that as a compliment except she said last week that she never heard of the guy.
She is proud of her streak but has not been seeking out attention for it.
“Unless people ask me about it, people don’t really know about it,” Stulginskis said. “My friends and some of my teachers know. Other than that, nobody knows. It’s been in the newspaper before, but that was a long time ago.”
Aside from that dreadful December day, she had no other close calls with being absent.
“It seems like I get sick during Thanksgiving breakStagg’s Paige Stulginskis has never had an occasion to visit the attendance office during her career as a student. Photo by Jeff Vorva. and all of the breaks that we have,” Stulginskis said. “I never got sick during school.”
Stulginskis has a twin sister, Tori, who has missed some time. A few years ago, North Palos School District public relations guru Jim Hook wrote a press release on the streak and quoted Tori as joking “She stole all my nutrients while we were in the womb.”
Also in Hook’s mirth-filled release, Elizabeth had her own take on why the streak lasted so long.
“It’s also probably because I don’t clean the house everyday so she perhaps built up an immunity to germs,” Elizabeth joked.
Paige admits that she doesn’t like school a lot but doesn’t hate it either and has never been late. She wants to keep the streak alive even beyond her high school days. She is planning on going to Western Illinois University and study crime scene investigation.
Usually colleges don’t keep attendance so it’s a goal that only she will be aware of.
“I don’t want to miss any classes,” she said. “But it’s a long way away, so who knows?”
My favorite excerpt from a press release this week comes from Papa Murphy’s pizza with a claim that Halloween is the “third busiest pizza night of the year — runner up only to Super Bowl Sunday and New Year’s Eve. Frightening but true, the week of Halloween is the busiest week of the entire year for local pizza chain, Papa Murphy’s!”
The national chain offers something called a “Jack-O pizza” and during Halloween week, they use 5.3 million pounds of pizza dough made from scratch, 45 tons of red sauce, 86 tons of mozzarella cheese, 18 tons of cheddar & provolone topping cheese, 9.3 million pepperonis and more than half-a-million slices of olives.
A Flick of the tongue
My second favorite excerpt from a press released this week comes from Hammond, Ind., where on Tuesday they unveiled a special statue:
“The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority will be joined by Scott Schwartz, the actor who played Flick in the classic Christmas movie ‘A Christmas Story,’ for a press conference and the unveiling of the bronze Flick statue. The statue, developed in agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will highlight the iconic ‘Triple Dog Dare’ scene in which Flick gets his tongue stuck to a flag pole. Additionally, information on the upcoming ‘A Christmas Story Comes Home’ exhibit will be discussed.’’
I wouldn’t mind seeing a statue of that lamp that the old man won in a contest.
Last year, the first Freedom Isn’t Free 5K run and Congressman Dan Lipinski finished 12th.
On Sunday, he ran in the second Freedom Isn’t Free 5K race and finished 12th.