BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The best attendance out of 150 middle and high schools. The competition is all part of the “Get Schooled” initiative.
The school was not only awarded with a $5,000 check, but also a special celebrity guest who made the kids go wild.
Rochelle Ritchie was there for all the excitement.
One by one, kids at New Era Academy in Cherry Hill file into the auditorium for a special announcement and surprise–a visit from R&B singer Trey Songz.
Popular amongst teens, Songz is celebrating with the kids for being the number one school out of 150 with the highest attendance record.
“It’s unbelievable. I almost cannot express the excitement. This is a leadership school and we are taking the lead on addressing chronic absences in Baltimore City” said Principal Sandra Simmons.
For ten weeks, the students made sure everyone showed up to class, not knowing it would lead to meeting one of their favorite artists.
But perhaps the biggest star in the room is Lawrence Lawson–a senior who had to learn to walk and talk again after suffering a seizure at nine-years-old and lost both of his parents before he was 13.
He says keeping perfect attendance is just as important as keeping perfect grades.
“My eighth grade year, the year right after my mother passed away, I excelled at the top of my class. And then once I got to high school, I just hit the ground running and now here I am, valedictorian of my senior class,” Lawson said.
In a side-by-side surprise message with First Lady Michelle Obama, Lawson shares the importance of financial aid.
Principal Simmons says, while the celebrity surprise given to the students is the highlight of their hard work, their commitment to coming to school will take them much further.
“You cannot be a leader if you don’t come to school,” she said.
New Era Academy also has a buddy system, where students hold their friends accountable if they miss school. They are rewarded for making sure their friends are always in attendance.
The school also received a $5,000 check for being number one.
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