Flag-raising team at Mark Hopkins Elementary is ‘perfect’
Students have never missed a day of school

e-Connections Post Mark Hopkins
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Justin Agdigos, 10, has an awesome responsibility: Keeping the American flag from touching wet grass while he and his teammates work to hoist it up the flagpole in front of Mark Hopkins Elementary School.

“You can’t let the flag touch the ground,” he explains solemnly.”That would be disrespectful to our country.”

Justin, his sister Sophia, 11, and Rommel Aquino, 10, are responsible for raising the American and California flags in front of Mark Hopkins Elementary School every morning and taking them down every afternoon.

They learned the dos and don’ts of this ceremonial procedure from Marine Corps ROTC students at Luther Burbank High School, and take their duty very seriously. As they pulled to rope that lifts the flag on a recent morning, Rommel expressed disappointment at the lack of a breeze.

“Where’s the wind?” he cried, looking up at the flags. “We need wind!”

The trio was awarded the honor of flag duty because of their attendance: They have never missed a day of school since kindergarten. Principal Tiffany Smith-Simmons says selecting students with perfect attendance assures that the flag pole will never be empty.

“I know I can count on them to be at school every day,” she says.

By making school attendance a priority, Justin, Sophia and Rommel are saving SCUSD money. Each day a child misses school costs the district $38, which adds up quickly with 44,000 students.