PONCHATOULA — When family members talk about Mark Everett Traylor, one word — disciplined — quickly comes to mind.
The recent Ponchatoula High School graduate completed 13 years of school without missing a day.
As Traylor received an award for perfect attendance from the Tangipahoa Parish School Board on May 24, the crowd offered him a standing ovation.
He also was recognized by Ponchatoula High School and the State of Louisiana Board of Education for 13 years of perfect attendance.
While the award was an honor for Traylor, who is also a three-sport letterman, attending school regularly was just something he did, he said.
“I wouldn’t know what to do if I missed a day of school,” Traylor said.
Traylor even attended school on “junior skip day,” a tradition in which juniors skip a day of school.
“I was there,” Traylor recalled. “It’s just not worth it (to miss school).”
For the 18-year-old, who will be attending Southeastern Louisiana University next year with the hopes of becoming a Wildlife and Fisheries agent, his accomplishment of being the only student in Tangipahoa Parish and only one of 20 in the state to have never missed a day of school in 13 years was a bit surprising.
Traylor said he didn’t realize how big of a deal his accomplishment was.
He thanked both his parents, Sonya and Mark Traylor Sr., of Pumpkin Center, for getting him up for school each day, and the Lord for giving him good health, he said.
In addition to his perfect attendance record, Traylor took advanced courses all four years of high school and graduated with honors with a 3.36, his father said.
“More than just sports, academics are important to him and obviously going to school every day gave him an advantage,” Mark Traylor Sr. said.
Though he had enough credits to leave school after half a day his senior year, he chose to stay a full day to participate in the Agriculture Leadership Program, where he was a buddy to a student with autism, Mark Traylor Sr. said.
Traylor is the grandson of Brenda and Erwin Jenkins, of Hammond, and Rose Marie Traylor, of Pumpkin Center. He has one brother, Jonah Kyle Traylor, 12, who just finished sixth grade with seven years of perfect attendance.
Among his other accomplishments: receiving a music scholarship in the sixth grade from the State of Louisiana Gifted and Talented Music Program.
Traylor also sang the national anthem for the Southeastern Louisiana FFA banquet in Ponchatoula on Nov. 8 in front of special guests LSU All-American and former head football coach Jerry Stovall, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore and
“American Idol” finalist Lindsey Cardinale.
He was a four-year FFA member, and a three-sport letterman who played football, basketball and baseball.
He also received the Wells Athletic Award, an award given for more than 50 years to a Ponchatoula High School senior who is the best all around athlete, Mark Traylor Sr. said.
When asked if he will continue his perfect attendance record, Traylor paused and said he just may take some time off. While attending SLU, Traylor will be part of the SLU football team, he said.
“We’re proud of him for just getting up and doing it,” Mark Traylor Sr. said. “Given the fact that he played football, basketball and baseball for four years, we’re fortunate that he never had an injury to where he could not get up and go to school.”
“Mark Everett has always been a leader, not a follower and I think to go 13 years with perfect attendance shows leadership,” Mark Traylor Sr. said.