Always Give 110%

Tyrel - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on January 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

My name is Tyrel Prentiss and I believe that people should always put 110% into everything. My mom has always taught me that if I do something, I should do it to the best of my ability. This philosophy has been tested numerous times throughout my life. In fourth grade I went to Walt Disney World for Spring Break and missed a week of school. When I came back, my teacher still made me take a science test. Since I didn’t know half of the material, I earned a C-. I usually made A’s, so I was shocked to receive this grade. Whenever I earned A’s, I would call my grandparents. We played a game where my grandfather would say that he had earned all the A’s and that I would have to settle for anything below an A. My grandfather only had A’s while I sometimes had no grades, or an occasional, solitary B. Since I had earned a C-, I didn’t really want to tell him. So, of course, my mom made me call my grandparents. My mom told me that since I had done my best they would be proud of me. My grandfather told me that for “just this one time,” he would take the C-, but only because I had tried. He also said that he had accumulated so many A’s over the years that one little C- wouldn’t hurt him. Thanks to my grandfather I felt a lot better about my, I mean his, C-.

On the rare occasion when I haven’t put 110% into something, I have only made more work for myself. Sometimes at school I just do the minimum work required. This might fly at school, but my mom knows that I can do better. She has made me redo these assignments until I do my best work. When it came to soccer not giving a 110% meant that I couldn’t do anything. I was the backup goalie for the JV team Freshman Year. In 8th grade I had been the starting keeper. As a result I went into the new season a little arrogant. One of my fellow freshmen was new to the school and a keeper. Although he couldn’t even touch the crossbar, he became starting keeper. Even though we were of equal skill level, he somehow beat me. As I sat on the bench watching balls that I could have easily caught pass over his head into the goal, I realized why I wasn’t playing. The other keeper had put more effort into it than I had. My coach preferred a player that would always work hard over someone who could be better, but wouldn’t try.

Unlike soccer, I have always put 110% into school projects. Whenever I am assigned a project, I instantly think of the most extravagant and difficult thing to make. After I tell the idea to my mom, she usually tells me that I “won’t have the time,” to make my idea a reality. But I always end up making something that is even better than my original idea. In history I was assigned a project about ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Most people just make posters for projects, but I make things out of Legos. I designed and built a ball court, shrine, and sacrificial pit out of Legos. Everyone thought it was really cool, especially the sacrificial pit which included skeletons, spears and large Lego scorpions. I always get excited when my friends and teachers comment on my hard work and ingenuity. Earning an A on an assignment that I worked really hard on is much more rewarding than earning an A on an easy assignment. For my views I am sometimes referred to as an overachiever. And my friends urge me to be more “average.” For me, “average” work is my best work because if I don’t put 110% into something, then I didn’t do it at all.