On Excellence

Great grades don’t necessarily define excellence.

I found a small blank book in which I had asked everyone I knew to write something for me. I was 12 years old.

My 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Nancy Howard, was preparing a speech for students in the Honor Society, and she shared some excerpts of her speech with me.

I’ve read these words many times before, but perhaps due to events happening now in my life, I finally understand what Mrs. Howard was telling me. All except the part about being a Man.

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Excellence is not achieved by competing with others. The best kind of competition is with yourself…and the secret of excellence is doing the most you can with the gifts you have been given.

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While it’s commendable to receive A’s, getting an A doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing the best you can or that you are learning something.

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Getting A’s is not enough … to rise above mediocrity by taking on challenges you’re not sure you can master. The real goal is to strive for excellence. How you pursue this goal, the choices you make, and your own vision of yourself will determine whether you succeed.

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The poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling seems to sum it up so beautifully…..

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Thank you, Mrs. Howard!

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