He has been there every day for 12 years
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 8, 2012 1:46 PM
Dan "Trey" Millard holds his perfect attendance plaque while standing outside of Charles B. Aycock High School. Millard didn't miss a single day of school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
PIKEVILLE -- Trey Millard has missed out on the occasional church youth trip, opportunities for his family to steal away to Disney World during off-peak seasons and has chosen to sit in on exam reviews even after being declared exempt from taking the test, all with one goal in mind -- perfect attendance.
It started in elementary school when he was annually recognized for not missing a day.
"I wanted a medal for perfect attendance," he said. "In middle school, I just kind of wanted to do it. When I made it to high school, I thought, I might as well finish it out."
As it turned out, the Charles B. Aycock High School senior, who graduates Saturday, was not prone to illness, making the task easier.
"He was kind of fortunate to make it the first few years and then it was a goal for him," his mom, Tammy Millard, said. "He was lucky enough that when he got sick, it was on the weekend."
Even when he played sports, which provided an excused absence when the team had to leave early, Trey said he would double-check to make sure the teachers were aware and would not count him absent.
"I remember worrying about that," he said, adding that snow days were no different. "I'd ask (Mom), 'Are you sure school is canceled and I don't have to go?'"
The same held true at exam time. For the National Honor Society student and honor graduate who was often exempt from the final test, he took no chances.
"I'd always check," he said. "If I was going to be counted absent if I didn't go. (Tuesday) I went, there was my car and one other car in the parking lot."
"Even before the exams, on review days," his mother added. "He'd go sit through the reviews so he could be counted present."
While she credits her son with having the discipline to accomplish his goal, she said it was a decision the family has supported.
She and husband Dan -- there is also a younger daughter, Carlee, a rising high school sophomore -- were never ones to arbitrarily pull their children out of school.
"We expected him to go to school, but he's always been a good student," Mrs. Millard said. "He wanted to be sure he was there for things. He didn't really want to go on church trips, not that he didn't want to go but wouldn't get out of school like on a Thursday or Friday to go.
"He put himself under a lot of pressure, to be sure. You do worry if you're going to be sick. The closer you get, the more worried you get."
As the years have passed, Trey has gotten used to by some good-natured ribbing from his classmates, including the moniker "Mr. Perfect Attendance" and presumptions that he will faithfully show up each day.
"People have asked me what we did in class, because they knew I'd be there," he said. "And I've had to give (classmates) their make-up work."
But his entire life has not revolved around being at school each day, he said. Throughout his four years at CBA, he has played soccer and run track, while at his church, The First Pentecostal Holiness Church of Goldsboro, he has played basketball and participated in Judgement House, the annual dramatic production.
"I like playing high school sports and (being with) friends and all that stuff," he said, admitting at times he'd rather have been doing other things. "I was ready to go what I wanted to focus on for my career."
His aspirations in that department have changed drastically since his original thought, in fifth grade, when he dreamed of being a paleontologist -- "digging up dinosaur bones" -- until he discovered it didn't come with such a lucrative paycheck.
From middle school on, he has known what he wanted to do with his life, he said, which is to become a veterinarian.
He plans to attend UNC Wilmington in the fall, major in biology and continue his studies in veterinary medicine at N.C. State.
Will he continue the perfect attendance streak once he starts college?
"I don't know that I will slack off but I don't wake up very well from alarm clocks," Trey said. "There's a good chance that I might oversleep."
"He's going to have to find a sound that he hears (to awaken him)," his mother said.