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DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Lowellville grad is a roll-call role model



Published: Thu, May 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Attention employers. How would you like to hire someone with this work ethic: not one day missed in 12 years?

No, we're not talking about Cal Ripken Jr. This all-star is 18 and graduating from Lowellville High. Not since kindergarten, when the chickenpox struck, has Elisabeth Ashton Hazley missed a day of school.

"She's a great kid," crows her guidance counselor, Jerry Tarcy. "I'd love to have a whole school of kids like her."

Elisabeth's attendance is directly related to the work ethic of her parents, and her mother in particular. Said Elisabeth, "I was never allowed to miss school. My mom was set on that. Both my parents say, 'If you make a commitment, you follow through.'"

And though Elisabeth said she "was never really sick," she also said, "I wanted to stay home a lot of times."

It didn't happen. For 12 years, she showed up on the schoolhouse steps: first grade at St. Edward's, second through fifth at Taft Elementary, and the balance at Lowellville. A South Side Youngstown resident, she now drives herself to school each morning. No excuses. And she has a similiar work ethic for her job at Bob Evans, where she also has perfect attendance.

Mom: "Unless you're deathly sick, you go," said Elisabeth's mother Ursula Hazley. Ursula said she was raised by a mom who let her miss school if she begged hard enough (though she was put to work if she ended up not really ill), and a dad who was a Marine and ran his house accordingly. The Marine side of her upbringing won out.

"I run a tight ship," Ursula joked. "No, I just used to be a high school math teacher, and I know how much you miss if you miss a day of school."

"Plus," she said, "we wanted to teach Elisabeth that if you set a goal, you don't let things get in the way of it."

So, rain or shine, snow or hail, sniffles or not (Ursula says Elisabeth was amazingly healthy; Elisabeth says she came with sniffles at times), Elisabeth was there. And with a good attitude, according to her counselor.

"She's one of the most pleasant, personable ladies in the class," Tarcy said. "I don't think I've ever seen her upset. She's a great kid."

A good example: According to Elisabeth, her mom practices what she preaches. Said Elisabeth, "She works for Jo-Ann Fabric, and she never misses a day. She even goes in on her days off to make sure everything is going all right." Ursula said, in fact, that she has only missed one day in 20 years of work -- and that was because of an adverse reaction to a tetanus shot.

As a training manager for Jo-Ann Fabric Inc., with her office based at the Niles store, Ursula has the opportunity to interview new hires. One of the first questions she asks is, "What was your attendance record like at your last job?"

"I want my daughter to know, what you do now really helps you get something later," Ursula said. "You don't just blow off your senior year. You work to the end. If you commit to do something, you do it."

"Elisabeth calls [my husband] Craig and I workaholics," Ursula admitted. "But we do what we believe. If you commit to do something, you do it."

Plans: For the future, it looks like Elisabeth will be committing to accounting. Though she said she never really liked math, she fell in love with accounting class this year. She hopes to study it in college one day while she pursues a business degree.

"But not now," said Elisabeth. Now, she just wants to graduate.

Then maybe sleep in and do nothing for a day?

murphy@vindy.com




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