The Nature of Chords

IMG_7647I graduated yesterday! Yay! It seriously was awesome and exciting.

I’m mainly writing this blog post to talk about the fixation humans have on outshining each other, and shoving our achievements in each other’s faces. I didn’t realize I fixated I myself was until I realized how much I was comparing my achievements to those of the other graduates.

At my school, any person who has a 4.0 unweighted GPA and has taken a certain number of AP classes is eligible to be a valedictorian. So, unlike other schools, we have a ton of valedictorians, compared to the single valedictorian at most schools. My high school had eighteen valedictorians. During the graduation ceremony, each valedictorian is honored by receiving a medal and having their plans for the future announced.

So they have a medal. Good for them.

Furthermore, there is a class called Socratic Seminar at my school. All students that take Socratic Seminar and have an unweighted GPA of 3.75 or higher attain the accolade of being a Distinguished Scholar and this achievement is marked by their wearing of a black stole at graduation.

As for chords, there are four chords that a scholar might receive. A black chord marks a weighted GPA of 3.5 to 3.74. A blue and white chord marks a weighted GPA or 3.75 to 4.0. A gold chord represents a recipient of a Faculty Award, and a white chord represents a recipient of a Department Award.IMG_7565

I was very proud and honored to wear a white chord and a blue and white chord.

Here’s the catch: I spent a lot of my senior year stressing over my GPA, wondering if it was worth taking a class to become Distinguished Scholar just to get the black stole, hoping I would get honored on Senior Awards night, etc.

Yesterday during the graduation ceremony, there were kids who I think are lovely people and enormously smart who had one or no chords, and there were kids who played it safe or were teachers’ pets who had three chords and a stole. And then I decided that while I was very happy to have two chords, I also have great respect for those who lack chords.

So I guess my point is, that we as humans spend a ton of time looking at ourselves and others for our flaws. But in the long run, it doesn’t really matter. Chords at graduation simply are a way for humans to find another way to feel better about ourselves.

I took Socratic Seminar this past semester, and I tried my hardest to get out of the class because I thought that everyone was going to look at me differently because I wasn’t going to be Distinguished Scholar even with the class. I failed, but I eventually decided that I was “beating the system” because I was taking the class and bettering myself, rather than taking the class just to get the stole, like almost everyone else did. While the reason I took the class in the first place was to get the stole, I like to think that I have expanded my horizons.

Furthermore, I am beyond proud of myself for what I have accomplished over these past few years. I was a part of one of three groups that were selected to perform musical selections at my graduation ceremony. I am going to Brazil next year for a youth exchange program. I am attending an awesome college the year after. I have won a ton of academic awards. I got a huge band award. I could keep going on, but I will stop. The short story is that I am proud of what I have accomplished and I am happy with where my life is going.IMG_7605



Some Exciting News!

Rotary-Youth-Exchange-ProductsHi guys. I know I haven’t updated in a while, but I have some exciting news to share with everyone. I found out in January after I finished interviewing, but I didn’t want to post about it until now because I wanted to wait and finalize my college applications and see where I was accepted.

You know how in an earlier blog post I mentioned possibly taking a gap year before I went to college? Well, it’s actually happening!

I am proud to announce that next year I will be going to Brazil as an exchange student through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. I will living with at least one host family, and most likely two or three. I am going to be living in the city of Natal.

Right now I am in the mountains at a retreat center where all of the outbound students (all of the students who are going to another part of the world on a Rotary exchange for the 2015-2016 school year) are attending a required Outbound Student Orientation. I am very excited because this makes my upcoming adventures seem all the more real.

These past few months all of the outbound students have had to make PowerPoint presentations about themselves, and various other topics. Today we presented our work and also had to do an introduction in the language of our host country. For me, that was Brazil.1032_w

Maybe you remember that I lived in Mexico for a year? Well, it was very hard for me to pronounce the Portuguese in a Brazilian accent, not a Mexican accent. Spanish and Portuguese are very similar so that has been screwing with my brain recently.

I have been texting back and forth with my host sister, Eduarda, over the past few weeks and I’ve been trying to speak in Portuguese with her. I keep on slipping into Spanish. I guess there are worse problems to have.

The thing I didn’t understand is why we had to do the presentations (part of it, at least) in the language of our host country because we haven’t learned that language yet. I ended up reading off of notecards because I was trying to memorize sounds, not words, since I didn’t know what I was saying. I am hopeful that the leaders will explain this to us tomorrow.

Well, I will keep you guys updated! And I will tell you about my college decisions in my next post!


The Taylor Swift Phenomenon



First, let’s establish something right off. It’s kind of not cool to be obsessed with Taylor Swift. It is (at least at my high school), however, cool to be on the spectrum of annoyance to hate when it comes to Taylor Swift.

It is also a thing that peer pressure is kind of hard to resist. So I am just kind of a mouse when it comes to people ragging on Taylor Swift. I keep my love inside.

And just saying, I’m kind of done with that. BECAUSE TAYLOR SWIFT IS AWESOME AND I LOVE HER.

Haters gonna hate. (Kudos if you get that reference.)

So. 1989 is awesome. Beyond phenomenal. The only thing I’m kind of upset about is that Style hasn’t become the huge sensation that “Blank Space” has. I think I went through a few days of only listening to “Style” over and over and over again. And over and over and over again. You get the idea?

Dear Taylor, will you pretty please make a music video for “Style”? Thanks.

Speak Now tour in Denver
Speak Now tour in Denver

I’ve been a huge Taylor Swift fan since Fearless came out. Last year the song “Fearless” became my theme song for the year because it was all about me being on top of the world, something that I really think happened last year.

I was listening to National Public Radio (okay, I’m a nerd, sue me) and I heard someone say that Taylor Swift is arguably the biggest name in Pop right now. That made me feel so happy because I feel like I’ve been with Taylor since the beginning. It’s not like I jumped on the Taylor bandwagon when 1989 came out and everyone went nuts. I’ve been here since I was old enough to decide what kind of music I like.

Speak Now tour in Denver
Speak Now tour in Denver

I am lucky enough to have gone to a Taylor Swift concert when she was touring for Speak Now. It was awesome. Just saying. When she was in Denver she performed in the Pepsi Center, which is this circular arena that the Nuggets (our basketball team) and the Aves (Our hockey team) play at. So while I was in the cheap seats and in the way back (why all my pictures show the view screen, not Taylor in person) I was lucky to be center stage.

Sorry, I’m rambling.

The moral of the story is: I LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT. Enough to publicly declare my love on the internet.

To those of you still with me: Thanks for putting up with my random free write blog posts that really have nothing to do with diabetes and are kind of long winded and tend to ramble a lot. And that was funny because that sentence is a long winded and rambling sentence.



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Homecoming Parade

Extra points if you can spot me!

I’m posting this super late even though I wrote about it forever ago. Forgive me? Thanks.

This week is homecoming week and yesterday was the homecoming parade. Homecoming week, while fun, is one of the most stressful weeks of the school year because there are about four billion activities after school, all the stuff that the band participates in, everyone seems to be taken over by hyperactivity and craziness, drama about the dance, and then, of course, the usual ginormous homework load. Cue more stress than usual.

I’m planning on blogging on the individual homecoming events, but here is what happened at the parade.

So before the parade I was at a solid 176mg/dL. I didn’t correct for it because I figured I was just about to march the parade and then I would be carrying my usual smarties in my pocket. Except I forgot to put my bag of smarties in my pocket. I didn’t notice until we got there. But I figured, hey, no big deal, we’re only marching right back to the school, and besides, I’ve never been low for a parade before, so I’m fine.

This is the moment where you all get the opportunity to laugh and tell me that there’s a first time for everything. Oh, and did I mention that I also forgot to bring my tester with me? Now this is the moment where you get to ask me WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING. Exactly. I wasn’t.

So the homecoming is super awesome in a few different ways. First of all, it’s short. Second of all, we play a variety of songs instead of repeating our standard parade song and the drum cadence over and over again. It’s a nice release from monotony. Also, the band is the very first thing in the parade, which means the party doesn’t start until we get there. And finally, everyone (except the band) carries candy around and throws it to the little kids who come and watch. So basically little kids now know to bring bags when the homecoming parade comes around.

So a little while after we stepped off, I started to feel low. You guessed it. I thought I could stick it out until we got back to school and then I could eat my smarties in peace. But then it got to the point where I wasn’t playing at all and I had a girl switch with me from the outside to the inside so I would be more masked by my not really marching style kind of thing.

After we stopped so the police could direct traffic, I realized I was in a lot of trouble.

And then I had the brilliant idea to go ask the cheerleaders and poms for their candy. Thank God for cheerleaders and poms. They were super nice and gave me whatever I wanted, which was mostly stuff that I could eat quickly. It was kind of entertaining when some of them offered me lollipops (not something that can be eaten quickly).

So it all turned out but wow that was kind of (a lot) terrifying looking back on it. I was so lucky to be able to get something to raise my blood sugar, because I think I would have passed out otherwise.

Let that be a lesson to you (and my future self).



Diabetes Awareness Month

diabetes awareness monthIf you haven’t yet noticed, it’s November. Which for many of you, thoughts of Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown cross your mind. However, this is also World Diabetes Awareness Month. November 14 is World Diabetes Day. No, we don’t have a huge movement behind us. The NFL does not wear pink and go bananas to raise awareness. No, diabetes is not life threatening when treated.

Diabetes is a personal disease. It is a daily battle. It’s about waking up at 3am to check your blood sugar (or having your parents do it for you). It’s about giving yourself shots or infusions sets. It’s about counting carbohydrates and compensating with insulin every single time you eat. And that’s only a fraction of what is involved when it comes to living a life with type one diabetes.

However, out of all people who live with diabetes, only five percent of them have type one diabetes (American Diabetes Association). Here’s some food for thought:

Almost 30 million people in the United States live with diabetes (American Diabetes Association).
In 2010, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
The total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2012 was an average of $245 billion.
In 2008—2009, the annual incidence of diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 18,436 with type 1 diabetes.

Usually, I’ve been too busy to acknowledge that World Diabetes Awareness Month is even happening. Diabetes deserves to have recognition. I hope you learned a little something and will share the message: diabetes is not a faceless disease.


Claire Montgomery

All facts and statistics come from the American Diabetes Association.diabetes

Stem Cell Research Plus a Cure

beta_cells_for_webSo today I ran across all of these articles saying that a Harvard researcher and scientist who has a son and daughter with type 1 diabetes has had a breakthrough in stem cell research in which stem cells are a starting point for beta cell transplantation and ultimately insulin produced from the body itself.


Granted, we still are a few years off from human tests, so don’t get your hopes up to astronomical levels yet. My mom wants to know where I can sign up for the human trials.

As for the animal test subjects, on behalf of the diabetic community, we thank you for your sacrifice.

I really don’t know what to say about this. I haven’t really ever thought about the fact that diabetes may be cured in a serious manner before. It didn’t really seem like something that would happen in my lifetime. If I was cured with of my type 1 diabetes, how wou998ld I feel? I probably would be experiencing a lack of something, I guess. Hold on, how many carbs are in this… Oh right, I don’t need to count carbs anymore. Times the four billion other things type 1 diabetics think about daily.

What would you do if you woke up one day and found out that a cure had been found for the disease you’ve been living with for years? I find myself wondering that.

Well, guys, homework is calling. Ciao for now!


Mary PoppinsI sat down to write a blog post and put Pandora on, and of course Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came on. And then, zam! topic change. I’m rolling with the punches here. (Disclaimer: no diabetes talk here. But I still like to think that I’m an interesting person.)

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t fall into the range of seriously enjoying or loving Mary Poppins. I may be about to be proved wrong with this blog post, but I really don’t care. I will always love Mary Poppins.

(Side note — my word processor thinks that ‘Poppins’ is spelled wrong. That’s irritating.)

I loved Mary Poppins when I was a kid. When we drove to the mountains, my parents would put show tunes on the stereo, and Mary Poppins was one of the favorites (the other being The Sound of Music, but honestly, who can go wrong with Julie Andrews?)

Mary Poppins came to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and my mother bought tickets. I’ve seen a ton of shows there, including The Lion King, and I’ve never been so transported as I’ve been with Mary Poppins. The music was wonderful, the actors were excellent, and she flew out into the audience. I’m writing about it now, and I’m getting goosebumps.

Saving Mr BanksAnd then I went to high school and took a lot of history classes and Mary Poppins took on a whole new meaning. For example, (“one night I said it to me girl, and now me girl’s me wife.” Just kidding. And you’re a champ if you get that reference.) Anyways, I understand why Mrs. Banks had time to be a suffragette, why she would do such a thing anyways, what economic and social class the Banks were in, etc. It’s even more fun to watch Mary Poppins now because I understand it on a whole different level. What a great movie.

About sixish months ago I saw Saving Mr. Banks when it came out in theaters with my grandmother and mom and I just about died when hearing the the Mary Poppins melodies used as the music score. I mean it. Dead.Mary Poppins Musical

And now my school has announced that out school musical this year is Mary Poppins. Oh. My. God. (Sorry, Mom. “Gosh.”) And we even outfitted our auditorium with aerial stuff so Mary can fly and Bert can walk on the ceiling. I’m dying over here of excitement. Holy cow!!

For the past two years I’ve participated in the pit orchestra for the school musicals (and that is a whole story unto itself, so I’ll tell you later) and now I am incredibly excited to try out this year. Mary Poppins here I come!

Lots of love,

Claire MontgomeryMary Poppins