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Todd Brengel, 14

Who I Am

Having a Mohawk, people like, judge you right as they look at you. I mean, like, people just walking around, they're like, "Pretty cool, man," and some people like it and some people...

Right now it's just, like, brown and red, like my normal hair color. I was going to dye it green, but my dad wouldn't let me.

My brother is like, I don't know, he's like Mr. Perfect — he does everything right. And, like, I'm nothing like him. I just like to be different I guess. I don't like being the same person as everybody else is.

[At the Boy Scout Jamboree], there were imitation Mohawks. They did it there, like, "It'll be fun!" One kid had a Mohawk, and it must have been, like, a quarter of an inch high. It didn't really look like anything. A lot of people just thought I did it for the Jamboree — like I wasn't serious. I didn't really listen to any of them.

I play lacrosse, and I play football, and I body-board, listen to music and stuff like that. [This fall] I'll go to Midlothian [High School]. It's a good school — it's a lot better than the other schools around here. I might have to [get rid of the Mohawk before school starts]. I don't really want to, though. If I do get rid of it I'll get another one. Middle of the school year, or something — next summer. So people start to get to know me [without it]. Then they understand.

Liz Brengel, Todd's mom:

Todd is vivacious, he's smart, he's lovable, he's dynamic — what else can I say? He's, quote, full of hell. That's a New York expression. That's just who he is. But he's lived in the shadows of a great brother — his older brother just went off to West Point Military Academy — and [he] was very goal-oriented, you know, he followed all the rules. And Todd questions all the rules.

Todd just watched his older brother become an Eagle Scout on June 13, and June 14 he graduated with honors from Midlothian High School. Todd felt that was a lot of pressure 'cause everyone said, 'Oh, that'll be you in four years.'

So Todd was thinking about this for a long time, and the last day of eighth grade, after school was out, he let his friends give him his haircut. But he got permission from me. I thought, it's not a tattoo, and it's not an earring in your mouth — those two things I have a hard time with. It's a haircut! I think the summer before high school is a great time to be who you need to be. Go for it.

And you know, Todd radiates when he wears his hair like that, and he did wear it for the opening ceremonies of the Boy Scout Jamboree. And I was there, so I saw him, and he looked phenomenal.

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