Sweet sound of perfect attendance

Julian “Jules” Gonzales plays the alto sax during the North Ridgeville High’s Jazz Band’s performance on May 17. Gonzales (center) is flanked by Nathan Beitel (left) and Simone Songer (right). Press photo – Michael Fitzptrick

Michael Fitzpatrick

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who watched the North Ridgeville High School jazz  band perform at its recent spring performance that alto sax player Julian “Jules” Gonzales came in right on time on all of his solos.

He’s carved out a legacy of being dependable.

The 18-year-old senior will complete grades K-12 having never missed a day of school. That’s 13 straight years without being sick, or missing a day to go to Opening Day of the Indians season, or attending a death or birth in the family.

His parents, Jayne and Frederick, joke with him about the streak.“Every once in a while I say, ‘Are you going to make it?’ He does,” said Jayne, who works in the North Ridgeville Schools as a teacher’s assistant.

When asked about the key to his streak of perfect attendance, Gonzales said he rarely gets sick; and when he does, it occurs on the weekend. The closest he came to missing a day was in the second grade, when he showed up late.

“But that was because I had to get my glasses,” Gonzales said.

Near the end of the school year, Gonzales considered what a rare milestone he was about to achieve by never missing a day of school from his first day of kindergarten until the last day of his senior year.

“Now that I’m actually thinking about it, it’s kind of weird,” Gonzales said. “I’m kind of proud of it.”

Amber Hunker, a guidance counselor at NRHS, was not aware of his record.

“That’s a really impressive accomplishment,” she said.

In school, Gonzales honed his musical skills. He began playing the tenor saxophone in the sixth grade and has been a four-year member of the marching band, two-year member of the concert band, two-year member of the symphonic band and a jazz band performer for three years.

After high school, he plans to attend Lorain County Community College, where he wants to begin working on a degree in pyschology. At some point, he would like to transfer to Cleveland State and earn a Ph.D.

He would also like to pursue a career in art at the Cleveland Institute of Art. When he’s done with his education he’d like to ultimately become an art/music therapist.

Gonzales started his school career in Cleveland, but transferred to the North Ridgeville Schools when he was entering second grade.

“To him it’s no big deal,” said Jayne Gonzales, who drove her son to school during his middle school years and his freshman year in high school.

So what advice does Julian Gonzales give to those who might want to blow off school or work one day?

“Put your mind to it. If you miss that day, you’ll end up having to do the work you missed anyway.”

Editor’s note: The North Ridgeville Press will publish photos and graduation listings in next week’s edition. NRHS’s graduation occurred Tuesday, after deadline.

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