Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Graduate surprised by his perfect attendance

by on June 14, 2014 10:54 AM

When William “Bill” McConnell went to his graduation ceremony on June 6, he and his family were in for a surprise.

The Blairsville High School and Indiana County Technology Center graduate was honored with an award for having perfect attendance throughout his elementary, middle school and high school career — although he didn’t even realize he had never missed a day.

McConnell’s mother, Susan, explained that during the graduation ceremony, the principal said to the crowd that there was a student in the class that had perfect attendance — that’s when Bill was recognized and given an engraved trophy for his accomplishment.

“He was never one to miss school,” Susan said. And, she said, “if you miss school you have all that stuff to make up” and Bill didn’t ever want to have to do that.

There were days that Bill didn’t want to go, sometimes, he said — like the days that hunting season started — but he was there anyway.

There was a two-month period that he was unable to go to school because of a broken leg, but a teacher came to his family’s dairy farm in Blacklick Township daily to tutor him, while his sister, Alexis, took his assignments in to school with her every day.

Bill was in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning department at ICTC. He was also recognized with an award for various community service activities he completed while an ICTC student, like putting up flags for veterans in Blairsville.

He is a member of 4-H of Indiana County and while in school was a member of the club Remembering Adam, a drug-free program.

He said he got involved with Remembering Adam in sixth grade after attending an assembly about the program.

“I thought it was a pretty neat program then,” McConnell said.

McConnell was also honored by state police in 2011 for saving the life of his father, Paul “Pete” McConnell, during a tree-cutting accident on their farm.

Now that McConnell has graduated, he intends to find a job in the heating and plumbing field, in addition to continuing to help at the family farm.

Ellen Matis is the digital media coordinator and a staff writer at The Indiana Gazette. She is the person behind the Gazette's social media. A 2012 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ellen has a degree in journalism and public relations. Follow her on Twitter, @EllenMatis, or email her at
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