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Busy teen still has time for normal life

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” On a fall Saturday morning in downtown Glenwood Springs, the air is crisp enough to see her breath, but the smile of an energetic 16-year-old Glenwood Springs native is enough to warm the day.

Kerry Rippy and her mother Mary order warm drinks at Summit Canyon Cafe on Grand Avenue.

Though Kerry hasn’t yet acquired a taste for coffee.



“I don’t like it,” she said with that contagious smile revealing itself again. “This is hot chocolate.”

That day was not a typical Saturday for Kerry. Usually, she doesn’t have the free time to slow down for a cup of hot chocolate. You know how 16-year-old girls are ” school, classes, after school programs and clubs, late-night phone conversations with friends take up most of their time. It’s not much different for Kerry either. The only difference is that she has to deal with arthritis as well.



When she was only 5 years old, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid polyarticular arthritis. A disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Since then, she’s been on medication to control the condition. She had to give up playing soccer in grade school due to the potential for joint damage but, she wasn’t going to let it control her life.

“It doesn’t bother me really at all,” she said.

And it’s evident with the way she lives her life. She lives day to day, having fun, creating memories with her friends. And enjoying every minute of it. Even when it involves her two younger sisters Allie and Sarah.

“My sisters are my best friends,” she said. “But my best friends are my sisters too.”

The smile returns.

“My sister’s and I get along really well,” she said. “I don’t know why, we just do.” The bond she has with her sisters is apparent in the way she speaks of them. Her sister Allie and her share the same birthday of February 11 to top it off. But you won’t hear Kerry complain about not having a birthday to call her own.

“I think she was born early, or late, or something,” she said. “I call her my half-twin.”

The Rippy’s have deep roots around Garfield County that go back several generations. At least as long as Kerry can remember anyway.

“My grandfather was a logger on the Flat Tops,” she said pointing north. “There are a lot of Rippy’s around and I’m related to most of them in one way or another.”

When she’s not spending time with her family, she’s hanging out with her friends; during and outside of school.

At school Kerry is the junior class treasurer. On the swim team she swims the 100-meter breast stroke and freestyle events. She participates as Co-president for the El Pomar Youth and Community Service (EPYCS) club, Climate Committee which assesses the schools environment through student surveys, and the Impact Environmental Club, and is a member of the Mock Trial team as well. She likes being involved in these clubs for many reasons, but most of all, “it’s just more time with her friends,” she said.

Outside of school she’s on the Titan Steering Committee, which is a club for teens that help support nonprofits in the community. Through the committee she serves on the YouthZone board along with her mother.

All the while, maintaining a 4.0 with a full-load of classes including Science Seminar Chemistry and Independent Math Theory to boot. Enough to make any typical 16-year-old exhausted by day’s end.

But, Kerry is obviously not a regular teenager.

As her many interests allude, she’s still not entirely sure what the future holds, but looks forward to going to an institution like Stanford or Notre Dame.

“I would like to do a lot of things,” she said. “I don’t know for sure, I like chemistry a lot, the theory part most. Maybe a biomedical engineer, that would be interesting.”

And in the blink of an eye the day became a typical Saturday for her when she spotted some friends outside. She took one last sip from her cup, her stare thick with excitement as she stood, that radiant smile presenting itself once again as she said her good-byes, before retreating to catch up with friends.

Typical.

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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