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Three graduate with perfect attendance
Salem graduates Vikita Valle, left, and Melissa Reed, right, with Dr. Samuel King, center - photo by Submitted Photo

Three Rockdale County Public School seniors recently graduated with the distinction of having perfect attendance throughout their school career.


Mark “Fred” Umland

Mark Umland recently graduated from Heritage High School with the outstanding accomplishment of thirteen years of perfect attendance. Not only did he have perfect attendance, but he was never late for school since the third grade when “tardies” began counting against attendance. He was dedicated to this goal but had to sacrifice many things, including a trip to London, to keep on track. He says that after a while it just became a habit to be at school every day.

“I would get sick on weekends and holidays,” he recalls. “I had chicken pox one spring break and strep throat on Christmas, but it always seemed to just work out that way.”

Mark boasts many other achievements on his education journey as well. He earned the Superintendent’s Academic Award and graduated 3rd in his class with a 4.429 grade point average (GPA) and was recognized Summa Cum Laude, Honor Student and Board Scholar. He earned a letter for Varsity Cross Country and Varsity Baseball and enjoys being an NFL Giants football fan. Last year, he was one of fifteen students in the state to be invited and to participate in the Governor’s Honors Program in the subject of physics and has earned a Superintendent’s Academic Award each year possible. Mark is interested in engineering and plans to continue his education at the University of Virginia.

Melissa Reed

Melissa Reed recently graduated from Salem High School with a remarkable 13 years of perfect attendance. Melissa set out to earn this distinction after attending a school program at the young age of four. She also thought it was more difficult to make up missed work.

“It’s harder to make it up,” she says. “I would rather just go to school, learn the material and get it done the first time.”

This can-do attitude and approach has helped her earn many top honors and awards. Melissa has earned the Superintendent’s Academic Award, Colorguard Rookie of the Year, Colorguard Mentor of the Year, the Girl Scout Silver Award, Outstanding AP Biology and AP Environmental Science Student, the University of Georgia Certificate of Merit, and is a member of the National Honor Society. She earned a letter for the Marching Band / Color Guard and served as the Varsity Boys Soccer Team manager. She was also active in the Winter Guard, Beta Club, Student Government, Foreign Language Club, Spanish Honor Society, Science Club, SADD and was invited and  participated in the American Legion Auxiliary’s Georgia Girls State.

She graduated fourth in her class with a 4.076 grade point average (GPA) and was recognized Summa Cum Laude, Honor Student, and Board Scholar. Melissa will be pursuing Biology and Spanish at the University of Georgia and aims to become a veterinarian.

Vikita Valle

Vikita Valle recently graduated from Salem High School with an amazing 13 years of perfect attendance. This type of accomplishment is usually a goal to strive for and can be difficult to achieve, but not for Vikita.

“I just went to school every day,” she says casually. But, Vikita is accustomed to rising to the top with everything she does. During her high school experience, Vikita participated in Beta Club, Foreign Language Club, and Healthcare Students of America (HOSA) while completing a health care and law career pathway at the Rockdale Career Academy. She is a member of the National Honor Society for High School Scholars and was invited and participated in the American Legion Auxiliary’s Georgia Girls State.

Vikita graduated with a 3.735 grade point average (GPA) and was recognized Magna Cum Laude and Honor Student. She earned a letter in Marching Band and enjoys playing tennis. She has been an apprentice at a local law firm and aspires to earn a law degree. She will begin her journey toward this goal at the University of West Georgia.