On June 15 Stephen Gooding graduated from George C. Marshall High School having earned 13 years of perfect attendance. His father, Ron, said Stephen received his first perfect attendance in kindergarten in June of 1994 at Freedom Hill Elementary School. He kept his perfect record through Kilmer Middle School and then Marshall High School. In high school, having perfect attendance required him to attend every class, every day. His father also said Gooding had never been late to school.
Marshall Assistant Principal Dan Daus confirmed that Gooding had maintained a perfect record of attendance since kindergarten, although he noted that he was unable to check Gooding's period-by-period attendance for his first three years of high school.
"From what we can see, this kid walks on water," said Daus, adding that Gooding was also a strong student and athlete.
In September of 1995, Gooding, his father and his brother, Aaron, attended the baseball game in which Cal Ripken broke the Major League Baseball record for consecutive games played. Gooding's father said his son was inspired by this role model to accomplish his own personal consecutive years of perfect attendance. He also wore Ripken's No. 8 on the Marshall football and baseball teams.
Gooding played various sports through several community leagues, and in high school he played quarterback on the football team and an infielder on the baseball team and also played one year of basketball. He was a member of DECA Honor Society and made it to the International Competition in Los Angeles last year. He plans to attend George Mason University in the fall to major in computer science and play on Mason's Varsity Club Football Team.