There was only one time in Travis Parker's life when he thought he might not make it to school.
During a morning football practice as a seventh-grader, he broke his wrist and had to go to the hospital. The doctor told him he would need surgery, but instead of scheduling the operation for later that day, Parker sported a temporary cast when he returned to school a few hours after the accident.
When the surgery went smoothly the next day, Parker made sure he was in his seat for the afternoon roll call.
Now 18 years old, Parker will graduate Aubrey High School on Friday with a perfect attendance record spanning his entire school career from kindergarten through 12th grade.
"At first when I was little, I didn't have a choice about going to school," Parker said. "Then there was a point of no return when it came to keeping the streak. Once I got through eighth grade, I thought, 'Well I'm almost done, so why not?'"
Managing to stay healthy and motivated enough to attend roughly 2,400 days of class is a rare feat for most students. Educators at Aubrey haven't seen it done since 2014, when none other than Parker's older sister, Bridgett, accomplished the same goal.
Parker said he didn't feel like he was in competition with his sister, who now is a student at Texas Woman's University. His mother, Robyn, disagrees.
"He couldn't let his sister outdo him," she said.
Robyn said it was a "dual-parenting" job with her husband, Tom, to get the kids to school in the early years. They made sure they stumbled out of bed and got to early-morning practices, which included football, track and powerlifting for Parker.
"Of course, there were days they didn't feel good, but they would always want us to make doctor or dentist appointments on Saturdays so they wouldn't miss," Robyn said.
Once Parker learned to drive, it became his responsibility to get himself to school after his parents left for work in the morning.
Aubrey Superintendent David Belding said Parker's perfect attendance not only made an impact on his education, but also will help him as he starts his career.
"Employers can be confident in the fact that he'll be there," Belding said. "He's going to be someone who is reliable and follows through on promises."
Before he enters the workforce, though, Parker wants to major in business at Oklahoma Baptist University. When asked if he would try again for perfect attendance in college, he laughed and shook his head.
"Those 8 a.m. classes come pretty early," he said.
CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862.
FEATURED PHOTO: Aubrey High School senior Travis Parker shows off the awards he earned for maintaining perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th grade. Parker will graduate Friday night and attend Oklahoma Baptist University in fall.