For recent Reagan High School graduate Kody Ford to even be alive today is nothing short of a miracle.
The Class of 2014 member not only confounded doctors by proving virtually every grim prognosis about him wrong as a baby, he also managed to graduate last month with a perfect 12-year attendance record—less than nine weeks after being ejected through the sunroof of his own car during a collision with a drunk driver.
“I’ve known Kody since before he was born,” said Reagan HS instructional specialist Beverly Gatlin, who has been friends with his mother since they worked together at Lyons Elementary School in the early 1990s. “Kody was born prematurely, and was supposed to be blind. He was never expected to walk.”
But Kody not only developed into a completely able-bodied young man, he also returned to class less than 72 hours after walking away from that terrible car crash, and crossed the stage at Reliant Arena on May 31 under his own steam.
“The accident was about two months before graduation,” said Gatlin. “It happened on a Friday night. He was just going to return a movie. But he came back to school on Monday with stitches all over his head. He told his mom he wanted to come.”
Kody, who plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio this fall, is not the only student who finished high school with a perfect attendance record this year. Luis Gonzalez also graduated from Bellaire High School this spring with 13 years of perfect attendance, and Ciros Mazloom graduated from the DeBakey High School for Health Professions with a stunning 15 years of perfect attendance.
“Ciros started out as a three-year-old in HISD’s Pre-K program at Will Rogers Elementary School,” said Manager of Student Records Cynthia Nemons. “And he hasn’t missed a day since.”
HISD launched a new campaign last fall to raise awareness of how critical regular attendance is for student success and district funding.