Even though schools across the country have shifted online in response to COVID-19, this dynamic sister duo still holds their record of perfect attendance in high regard.
Their tried-and-true routine of waking up and going to school every day came as a blessing from their adoptive parents. Mykali was abandoned at birth and found on the side of the road in Guangxi, China. Her soon-to-be sister was also abandoned and brought to an orphanage in Anhui, China.
Jacquelyn and Troy Bader from Northeast Philadelphia gave these girls a better life. Judging their attendance record at MaST Community Charter School, they never took it for granted.
June 12th was supposed to be the cherry on top of a perfect elementary and high school career for Mykali.
"Having such pristine attendance records is a choice," said MaST High School Assistant Principal Grant Gellert in a statement to 6abc. "It's evidence of determination and a strong will to be consistent and dependable."
Her graduation ceremony now looks a bit different. It will be a social-distance style red-carpet event.
She plans to use these unique circumstances to look forward instead of dwelling on the past. "We're only really young and we have a whole life ahead of us to experience so many things," she said.
Mykali's younger sister, Montara, a junior, feels the same. "I would prefer to be back in school, but it's what we have to do now," she said.
Although both sisters agree on this, their personalities truly shine in contrast to one another.
"Total opposites," said their father, Troy Bader.
"Each has a different angle that the world should look out for," said their mother, Jacquelyn Bader.
She likens Montara to a strong leader while recognizing Mykali's compassionate heart.
"One is a little more quiet than the other. The other one's a little more rambunctious," Troy Bader said.
Despite their differences, they truly succeed in working as a team.
"Their efforts to show up to school each and every day are only a piece of what they should be recognized for," said MaST CEO John Swoyer in a statement to 6abc.
They routinely engage in community service projects such as food distribution, volunteering at a nursing home, or delivering cookies to first responders on Christmas.
They also stay busy in the workforce while maintaining their academic success. Mykali, with a 3.9 grade point average, makes brick oven pizza and sells concessions at Penn Cinema. Montara boasts a 4.067 GPA while working as an HR and IT assistant at ShopRite.
Even though their lifestyles have been interrupted by COVID-19, their mother thinks it's an opportunity to show strength.
It is an effort Jacquelyn Bader is familiar with. In 2003, she was en route to China to adopt her first baby girl during the SARS crisis.
"The airplane that I was on was nearly empty," she said. "We were all wearing masks."
In what she refers to as her "gotcha day," Bader crossed the globe to bring home Mykali on April 14, 2003.
That little girl graduates high school this week and will go on to study Psychology at Penn State University.
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