high school graduation. (submitted photos)
Going to school for 13 years — a total of nearly 2,300 days — without missing a single day is a rare and dedicated feat.
For the Waterloo school district, their Class of 2014 has two such students with this distinction: Dylan Hemmer and Weston Liefer.
“It just sort of happened,” Dylan said. “I just never got sick.”
His mother, Chris, said she is proud of her son’s accomplishment.
“It’s something that sets him apart,” she said. “It’s his claim to fame.”
Perfect attendance for so many years doesn’t happen too often at Waterloo, with just one last year and the one before that being in 2008.
“In order of frequency, it’s right up there with the perfect ACT score,” Chris said. “You always have a valedictorian, but this is rare.”
Dylan went to Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School until the middle of fourth grade when he transferred to the Waterloo public school district, but still never missed a day.
“At any point in time, he could’ve played hooky, but it meant a lot to him,” Chris said. “He made the conscious decision to go to school.”
He missed out on college visits and the opening of deer hunting season, but stuck to his schooling.
At WHS, Dylan played football for two years, ran track and was involved with auto club and FFA.
“Luckily, he never got injured in sports or anything,” Chris said.
Dylan leaves in a month to attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Fla., where he will be enrolled in the Harley-Davidson Technician Program.
“The school had mentioned through all of this that while (colleges) value good grades, they also value attendance,” Chris said. “It shows his dedication.”
For Weston, perfect attendance was something he was shooting for since he was little.
“I got through kindergarten without missing a day, and it just became a goal,” he said. “Hopefully it helps me stand out from the crowd.”
Though he said there were a few days he thought he might have to miss school, he just kept going.
His mother, Shawn, said Weston got lucky.
“When he did get sick, it was on a weekend,” she said. “One time, it was even a snow day. He just got extremely lucky.”
As Weston’s time at Waterloo schools went by, Shawn said she knew his dedication would get him to his goal.
“Each year was just one year closer to that perfect attendance mark,” she said.
Weston has been participating in track since sixth grade and joined the cross country team his junior year. He was also on the WHS speech team for a year.
Along with school activities, Weston is also a published author. “A Spartans Journey, The First Strike!” was published in 2012. He will attend the University of Mississippi in the fall.
“I’ve put it on my résumé that I’ve sent to colleges,” Weston said. “It’s something an employer would definitely notice.”