May 18, 2012 by Julie Montanaro
High school seniors are counting the days until graduation. Some of them have already taken advantage of a tradition called senior skip day.
Not Matthew Smith. He hasn't missed a day of school since walking into Miss Klawinski's kindergarten class.
Chiles High School senior Matthew Smith is poised to graduate with the class of 2012. When he walks across that stage to get his diploma, it will be "mission accomplished," but not the mission you think.
"I have missed zero. I have never missed a day at school," Smith said.
"Since kindergarten actually."
That's right Matthew has not been absent a single day since kindergarten. Never called in sick. Not even once.
"My dad only missed one day of school in all of his school career. So he wanted me to beat his record and I kinda just ran with that and felt like I really needed to step up," Smith said.
"That's impressive and I don't know how he does it because that's really hard to do," classmate Rachel Givens said.
"Do you even know who he is?" we asked the vice principal in charge of attendance.
"Actually I know him through some other things, but certainly not from the attendance office," Paul Lambert said.
Matthew was so determined to keep his attendance streak intact that just going on field trips makes him nervous. He admits his friends tease him about it all the time.
"They call me names and stuff like saying 'Wow. We're going to kidnap him."
"He says he gets teased a lot because of this. Can you imagine?"
"Oh, I wouldn't doubt it. I completely would," Givens said. "It's jealousy though."
Smith may have the last laugh. He'll graduate with a 4.4 GPA and plans to attend the University of Florida next fall.
"It's perfect attendance, but it's beyond perfect attendance, it's *the* perfect attendance," he said.
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