He has completed 2,734 days in Midlothian classrooms, with only 70 more to go until high school graduation. Those days translate into 19,138 hours spent in Midlothian ISD classrooms.

At the time of this writing, the young man featured in this article has dealt with sore throats, sour stomachs, and spring fevers, on any given school day for the past 13 years. But Dylan Heitman, a senior at Midlothian High School, has never missed a day of school.

“Only a few times, maybe three or four, did I have to force myself to go to class and then have my mom pick me up after attendance was taken at 10:20 a.m.” Heitman said.

Cindy Mueller, one of Heitman’s favorite teachers, noticed his perfect attendance record at the end of his kindergarten year and challenged him to keep up the tradition for his entire school career.

“Right then, I remember, I set that as a goal for myself,” he said. “It has been hard, but I never forgot that was what I was trying to accomplish and that maybe it would earn me a college scholarship.”

Currently, MISD no longer funds a perfect attendance scholarship, but any university who recruits Heitman will benefit from his stamina and strong work ethic.

He works 18-20 hours weekly at a local restaurant, repairs his own car, volunteers in the library and will finish in the top quartile of his graduating class. He has also earned 21 hours of college credit while attending high school. Who could be a better representative of our local public school system? When asked about teacher quality and academic rigor, Heitman gave Midlothian campuses and staff high praise.

“Mr. Steve Hammons made history real. He made us understand what happened,” he said. “Mrs. Monica Arroyo is so nice, a very kind person. Mr. Carter McClung moves around the classroom and lets one topic grow into another all the time. His class is very interesting.”

Sarita and Dalen Heitman, Dylan’s parents, have many reasons to be proud of their oldest son.

Dylan described working on his first car with his dad, learning auto repair skills as they upgraded a 2000 Toyota Celica. Now, he buys his own parts online to improve another vehicle he purchased.

In the library, Dylan willingly moves huge laptop carts, furniture and delivers textbooks all over the high school campus.

The senior cited “the dedication of Midlothian teachers” as the strength of our community. Dedication, commitment and strength of character are certainly qualities Dylan knows about and exhibits well.