Perfect Timing

Wash­ing­ton High grad Josh Gold­berg can’t re­mem­ber the last time he missed a day of school. No won­der. In 13 years of school­ing, he nev­er missed one.

George Wash­ing­ton High School seni­or Josh Gold­berg hasn’t missed a day of school in 13 years. Kev­in Cook/for the Times

Josh Gold­berg star­ted a pat­tern when he was in kinder­garten at the Anne Frank Ele­ment­ary School.

The young­ster at­ten­ded class every day and showed up on time.

“I al­ways looked for­ward to go­ing to school every day,” he said.

Josh at­ten­ded Anne Frank through fifth grade, spent the next three years at the Baldi Middle School, was en­rolled at Cent­ral High School for al­most three years and has been at George Wash­ing­ton for the last year-plus.

In all that time, he has nev­er missed a day of school.

“No late­nesses either, even in in­clement weath­er,” said his mom Gail.

When Josh gradu­ated from Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day, he com­pleted 13 years of school­ing without stay­ing home even one day.

“When I tell people I have per­fect at­tend­ance, they get amazed,” he said. “They say, ‘Wow. Show me some proof or evid­ence.’”

The 18-year-old star­ted his school days in the pre-kinder­garten class at Shaare Shamay­im syn­agogue. “I don’t think they took at­tend­ance,” he joked.

A res­id­ent of Susan Road in Bustleton, he has gen­er­ally stayed healthy, oth­er than a bout with the chick­en pox when he was 2.

“I nev­er had a ma­jor ill­ness,” he said. “The com­mon cold, I battled through it.”

On Feb. 6, 2006, as a sev­enth-grader, he at­ten­ded school for a couple of hours be­fore head­ing to his grand­fath­er’s fu­ner­al ser­vice.

“I had to make the fu­ner­al later,” his mom said.


Josh is a big base­ball fan — he’s a Phil­lies sea­son tick­et-hold­er and has traveled to more than a dozen Ma­jor League Base­ball sta­di­ums — but was presen­ted with a di­lemma on Oct. 31, 2008, in his sopho­more year at Cent­ral.

No, he didn’t have to pick out a last-second Hal­loween cos­tume. He wanted to at­tend the parade cel­eb­rat­ing the Phil­lies’ World Series vic­tory two nights earli­er.

“I went to school in my Phil­lies gear. My ad­viser didn’t even know the Phil­lies won the World Series. I was the only one in my class, and there were only ten or twelve kids and very few teach­ers in the whole school. I left school early,” said Josh, who hopped on the Broad Street Sub­way to join the parade in Cen­ter City.

Over­sleep­ing has nev­er been a prob­lem for Josh, though it’s not un­usu­al for him to stay awake un­til 1 a.m. or so. He wakes up at 6:45 a.m., in plenty of time to make it to Wash­ing­ton. Not every­body is as prompt.

“I’m at school by 7:20, and it starts at 7:30, but the hall­ways are empty,” he said.

Ar­riv­ing on time at Cent­ral, at 17th Street and Ol­ney Av­en­ue, was a bit more chal­len­ging, es­pe­cially when there was heavy traffic and pre­cip­it­a­tion on the ground.

“I’d tell my mom to drive faster,” he said.

Josh took his last ex­am on June 2. He was one of the few seni­ors in school the next day, which was the date of the seni­or prom.

The rest of the sched­ule in­cluded the an­nu­al “move-up day,” when seni­ors walk out of the aud­it­or­i­um for the fi­nal time and are re­placed in their seats by the ju­ni­ors.

Josh and the rest of the seni­ors re­ceived their year­books and had a pic­nic at the Chick­ie’s & Pete’s on Roosevelt Boulevard, fol­lowed by a gradu­ation prac­tice on the day be­fore Wed­nes­day’s ce­re­mony, which was held at Mickey Young Me­mori­al Sta­di­um and fea­tured guest speak­er Steve Ad­dazio, the new foot­ball coach at Temple Uni­versity.


Josh’s par­ents set a good ex­ample for him and his two broth­ers when it comes to edu­ca­tion. His mom Gail teaches at Grover Wash­ing­ton Ele­ment­ary School in Ol­ney and has rarely missed class as a stu­dent or teach­er. His dad Louis is an ac­count­ant/con­trol­ler/chief fin­an­cial of­ficer for a park­ing-lot com­pany who rarely skips a day of work.

Aaron Gold­berg, a 16-year-old sopho­more at Wash­ing­ton, hasn’t missed much school time since ap­pen­di­cit­is side­lined him for a week in sixth grade.

Joel Gold­berg, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Baldi who will at­tend Wash­ing­ton in Septem­ber, has missed only a couple of days over the years.

“It runs in the fam­ily,” Josh said of the com­mit­ment to edu­ca­tion.

For Josh, math has been his fa­vor­ite sub­ject in school. He also par­ti­cip­ated in sci­ence fairs since the fourth grade. He had a 97 classroom av­er­age in his first three years of high school and took all ad­vanced-place­ment classes as a seni­or.

The teen­ager was the pho­to­graph­er for the year­book.

Out­side of school, he has plenty of in­terests. He be­came an Eagle Scout at age 14 and re­mains in a lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion at the Shaare Shamay­im-based Troop 18.

On Sunday, he gradu­ated from the Gratz Col­lege Hebrew School.

In Au­gust, he and Joel will travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch to take part in a gruel­ing 70-mile hik­ing trip “in the middle of nowhere” in New Mex­ico with fel­low Troop 18 mem­bers.

A few days after ar­riv­ing home, Josh will de­part for Syra­cuse Uni­versity, where he will study en­vir­on­ment­al en­gin­eer­ing. He’ll even­tu­ally en­roll in law school. Im­pacted by last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mex­ico, he’d like to work for the fed­er­al En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency.

To help pay for his edu­ca­tion, he has per­formed odd jobs at his fath­er’s com­pany and has shoveled snow and cut lawns for sev­er­al years.

Syra­cuse has a repu­ta­tion as be­ing a town that ex­per­i­ences bru­tal winter weath­er, and Gail Gold­berg jokes that her son might need to bring a snow blower to clear a path to get to class on time.

Col­lege pro­fess­ors might not have much in­terest in tak­ing at­tend­ance, but Josh will be there for the start of every class.

“Why stop?” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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