CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. - An L.C. Bird High School student hasn't missed a single day of school in 13 years.
Laila Hendricks was one of two students to receive the perfect attendance award at a senior award ceremony Tuesday night.
"I’ve been here for 13 years, and no one has ever been in perfect attendance for 13 years," said Principal Adrienne Blanton, as she presented the awards. "Congratulations ladies your work has paid off."
This wasn't Hendricks's first award.
On Tuesday night, she was one of a few students to win a scholarship for her PTSO involvement. In addition to that, her mom keeps a book of all the awards she's accumulated over the years and it's packed full.
"Gold's my favorite color," said Hendricks, with a laugh as she held up two medals for perfect attendance from previous years.
Hendricks received her first award for perfect attendance in tenth grade. Something her family said she didn't even know she was receiving until her name was called.
"We really didn’t keep track," said her father, Jason Hendricks. "We knew she went to school every day, but just never really thought how much that would build. And once they said it, and we got in the parking lot, we looked at everything we’re like -- 'Can you do this the next two years?' And that’s when the challenge really got into effect, and she would not miss a second. She was adamant after that."
Hendricks comes from a long line of hard workers who instilled in her the importance of education and standing in the face of adversity.
"We talk about great aunts and uncles who would pass for being other races just so they could work. They would take different routes home every day so they wouldn’t be followed by coworkers who know they are actually Black," said Hendricks.
Hendricks planned to follow in her family's footsteps and attend VCU in the Fall, where she planned to major in Graphic Design.
"We have a legacy which is beautiful. Grandfather went to VCU, uncle, aunt, I went to VCU," Jason Hendricks said. "Now she’s going to VCU. It’s beautiful just to see that trickle down."
Hendricks said she never had any problem making it to school even though the past year doing virtual learning presented more challenges. Hendricks even said she'd never been sick enough to miss a day.
"I've always made it to school," said Hendricks.
She said she was already seeing the benefits, as she's been putting her achievement on her resume.
"It’s pointed out every time," Hendricks said.