Before Heading to Berkeley, the Arvin Twins Achieve a 13-Year Streak at Palisades Schools
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Elementary school? Check. Middle school? Check. High school? As of graduation day—check.
Twins Sophia and Nicholas Arvin have officially achieved a perfect attendance record at each of their schools, first at Palisades Charter Elementary School, then at Paul Revere Charter Middle School and finally, finishing up at Palisades Charter High School before the two head off to Berkeley this fall.
Nicholas shared with the Palisadian-Post that making perfect attendance made him feel good and accomplished.
“Before I knew it, the 13 years had passed,” Sophia added. “The time just passes quickly. It is cool to think about all the days of school.”
The twins’ goal started at Pali Elementary when Principal Joan Ingle asked children and parents to attend school as long as they were not ill.
The school would lose $35 per day per child for absences, Sophia and Nicholas’ father, Chris Arvin, explained.
“It was largely about supporting the local public school, as well as building positive disciplines and routine of not missing school,” Arvin added.
At Revere, Sophia and Nicholas expanded their commitments, enrolling in honors programs, Scouts and tennis. When they reached Pali High, the twins took on additional challenging courses (including 11 APs and Calculus at UCLA), played varsity tennis all four years, and made the ranks of Girl Scout Gold and Eagle Scout.
“They would not have thought of missing a day of school,” Chris shared about their commitment at this point, “they knew they needed to stay ahead with a challenging course load in order to earn acceptance into a top public university engineering school.”
The twin’s mother, Monique Lafia, and Arvin shared they believe having them attend school each day helped them learn how to manage their time, keep their commitments and show up no matter what.
“Over 13 years, they learned how important their attendance and responsibility was to their schools financially to keep the programs going for all,” the parents said.
Hard work paid off: Sophia and Nicholas were both accepted at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSD for engineering programs, selecting Berkeley as the school they would attend.
“The goal is attainable,” Nicholas said, “and it sets you up for the discipline needed to succeed in accomplishing your goals.”
“My advice is to not look at the big picture and take it day by day, then things won’t seem overwhelming,” Sophia offered any student who was thinking about going for perfect attendance.
Nicholas suggested trying to find something to look forward to every day, whether it is a certain class, sport, club, music or friends.
Arvin and Lafia agreed: “Don’t think about the 2,340 days. Stay in the moment and take it day by day. Reinforce healthy family habits.”
They touched on the importance of keeping routines, as well as emphasizing learning and how much a student misses when they skip school.
“In the end, the commitment will instill strong values, to continue in college, their community, their careers and family,” Arvin and Lafia said.
Wrapping up her senior year during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sophia shared that the end of the year has been difficult learning online for some classes, but that she was well prepared by teachers to be able to continue the work on her own.
Nicholas agreed with Sophia, adding that he missed his friends and senior events this semester.
“I am looking forward to meeting the students in the EECS Department at the UC Berkeley School of Engineering and enjoying the university’s campus,” Nicholas shared about his next academic year.
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