Long Reach graduate attended to perfection

NEIGHBORS

July 01, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN CHRIS Mettee was in preschool, his mother set a goal for him: Jean Mettee decided that her son would graduate from high school with a perfect attendance record for his academic career.

"I just think it's important that you go wherever it is you're supposed to go," she said.

Chris, who will turn 18 this month, met the challenge. He recently graduated from a magnet program at Long Reach High School with a perfect attendance record. For his efforts, he received a certificate and a pen from the school.

But the greater reward is the sense of satisfaction that comes from setting a goal and reaching it.

"I wasn't really the best at school," said Chris, who lives in Ellicott City. "I mean, I did all right, but I wasn't the top of my class. And I wasn't that good at sports. So I might as well get something right."

His mother used almost the exact same words in explaining why she had set the attendance goal for her son. "It's like I told him: `You can at least be the most well-attended. Have a claim to fame,'" she said.

Most of the time, it was easy to get up in the morning and go to school. Chris started out at Our Lady of Victory in Baltimore and then went on to Waterloo Elementary, Rockburn Elementary and Ellicott Mills Middle schools before attending Long Reach High School.

The greatest physical challenge to his goal came about seven years ago, when Chris broke his ankle and had to hobble around the halls on crutches.

"My mom said, `You'll be all right,' so I went anyway," Chris said.

The greatest emotional challenge was going to school on the day of his great-grandmother's funeral, about two years ago.

"That was the worst," said Jean Mettee. "I think everybody in the family understood because they're so proud of him now."

Chris' parents are proud of him, too.

"I hope it lasts with him through his lifetime," his mother said. Chris is working at the Safeway in the Long Gate Shopping Center this summer and plans to study computer programming at Howard Community College in the fall.

It shouldn't be a surprise that both Jean Mettee and her husband, Marty, have excellent attendance records at their jobs. Jean works as an artist at a stained-glass studio in Frederick, and Marty works as a team leader in the Social Security Administration.

"I get all upset if I'm late to work," Jean Mettee said. "I have to be there. I'm super-conscientious.

"My husband has so much sick leave saved up that he can almost retire now," she said. "The same thing with me. I don't know. I just think it's important to be where you're supposed to be."

Moms meet

The south chapter of the MOMS Club of Ellicott City meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Meetings for next month and August will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Glen Mar United Methodist Church.

Information: 410-455-6425.

Tie-dye fashions

Children ages 11 to 17 can create tie-dye fashions at the Miller branch library from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 10.

Participants may bring up to five white cotton items, such as pillowcases, T-shirts, handkerchiefs or socks. They also should wear clothes that can get messy.

Registration begins Wednesday. Information: 410-313-1950.

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