06/14/06 — Southern Wayne student never missed a day of school

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Southern Wayne student never missed a day of school

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 14, 2006 1:46 PM

Back in the days when colleges awarded scholarships for perfect attendance, Keri Heath made a promise to her grandmother -- if she ever got the opportunity to go to a big school, she would never miss a day.

She kept her word.

Thursday marked Keri's last day at Southern Wayne High School and 13 straight years without a sick day, early vacation or playing hooky. Her mother, Sheila, said the hardest part was getting her out of bed.

"She's not a morning person," Miss Heath said. "But it wasn't that difficult."

Keri disagrees.

"There were a few days I wanted to stay home," she said.

But her urge to stay home did not result from illness. In fact, the few times Keri got sick during her run at perfect attendance were during the summer months and on weekends. As a younger student, she even waited until school was out to get the chicken pox -- twice.

On the days she did wake up feeling ill, she fought through it. She recalls a few days when she walked the halls and sat in class unable to speak due to laryngitis.

"That was rough because I'm a talker," Keri said.

Elementary and middle school days flew by, her record still in tact. But the hard part, she said, came on the home stretch -- senior year.

Taking easy classes and working a part-time in the pharmacy at the Southern Family Market made it more difficult to get up in the mornings, Keri said. Still, through the adversity, she kept the streak alive.

Her ambition is to attend Wayne Community College and transfer to continue her education. She wants to be a pediatrician.

"I get along better with kids than I do with adults," Keri said.