LONG BEACH - The principal of Tincher Preparatory had never seen a student achieve perfect attendance throughout an academic career.

Now he has.

And to hardworking eighth-grader Bradley Matheus, the feat is no big deal.

"My dad hates people who are always late to things," the 13-year-old said. "That mentality kind of rubbed off on me. I'm pretty punctual."

According to Matheus, that means he's on time for his many extracurricular activities such as Boy Scouts, fencing and helping to set up the school's carnival.

He's even known to voluntarily feed the Long Beach school's pet fish and clean the aquarium tanks.

"He's just been a delightful student to have," said William Vogel, the school's principal. "His parents have done a wonderful job with him."

When asked if he was ever close to missing a day, Matheus recalled just two instances: once when he was in first grade and another this past spring break.

"I just don't get sick that often," he said. "I got lucky, I guess."

When he's not studying, Matheus watches programs on the Discovery and Sci-Fi channels. He also builds robots that draw and go through mazes, and air cannons that shoot tennis balls, water balloons and potatoes.

"He's one of those kids that doesn't let anything get in his way," said Vogel, a 19-year education veteran, describing Matheus. "He has a very scientific and mathematical mind."

Eventually the straight-A


student wants to work in the field of military robotics, making surveillance and other type of machines.

"He's very interested in (robotics), and that's why he's so excited to be going to CAMS (California Academy of Math and Science) next year and joining their robotics team," said Jamie Matheus, his mother and a kindergarten teacher for Tincher Preparatory.

CAMS, located on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills, is a highly competitive high school that admits just 167 freshmen per year. It also has a major robotics program.

"Ever since he was in third grade he read an article about CAMS and decided that was the school for him," said Jamie Matheus about her son. "So he's really worked hard to get in."

Vogel said he believes Matheus' academic success can partly be attributed to never missing a day of school.

"I think if kids came to school all the time a lot of the kids who do have difficulty at school would be doing so much better," he said.

brian.cuaron@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1288

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