Life Update

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Cox, Katelyn Divis holding flowers after their piano recital -- Photo courtesy of Taylor Cox

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Cox, Katelyn Divis holding flowers after their piano recital — Photo courtesy of Taylor Cox


Hi! It’s good to be writing again! So, this blog is called Life Update, so that’s what I’m planning on doing. On Sunday November 13, I had a World Championship jiu-jitsu tournament. I fought girls who weigh, like, twenty pounds heavier than me, but I’m used to it. Even so, I didn’t place and I was really disappointed. I know I surprised the girls I was fighting, but that wasn’t enough for me. 

With my music life, I have a lot going on. I’m going to try out for my future high school music program, APA (Academy of Performing Arts), in a few months. I am going to sing and play piano to “All I Ask” by Adele. I am super pumped about that, and I know I’m going to make it, I hope. I’ve also joined the worship team at church. That, too, is very exciting. I even learned a song the day before and it was pretty awesome. On top of that, I’m writing more music, but I’m kind of putting that on the backburner for now because I’m so focused on my tryouts. I did, however, write a song about leaving your legacy behind and it was a hit at my recital in June that I had. It’s called Legacy and is a good piece of me that I put onto paper, or, in my case, a file in an SD card.

Speaking of technology, I am learning google  drive right now. I’m so excited about that. I’m actually going to try to submit a proposal to speak in San Francisco at the CTEBVI conference again. I would love to talk to the Northern California crowd this year about the technology I use throughout my school day, including Google Drive.

I’ll keep writing sometime soon.  Signing off,
Taylor

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CTEBVI Conference

 

Pictured: (l-r) Bob Sweetman, Taylor Cox, Jamie Murdy at 2016 CTEBVI Conference

Pictured: (l-r) Bob Sweetman, Taylor Cox, Jamie Murdy at 2016 CTEBVI Conference

 

Hi! My CTEBVI presentation went good. Now I’ll explain it in detail, along with the other parts of the conference.

 

First, I got to L.A. I met with my teacher, Mrs. Jamie. I ate a lot of candy before my presentation because I was really nervous. We had about twenty minutes with the other presenter, Bob Sweetman, and we were ready.

I was so excited. I presented on the technology I use in my schoolday. I talked about the Computer with JAWS, my Open Book software and the Pearl Camera, which is basically an app on my computer and a camera that connects with a USB port and scans a print paper. I also talked about my BrailleNote,my iPad, and my phone. Sometimes my teacher chimed in, but it was mostly me. I was so happy and calm during the presentation and it felt so good doing it. I loved every second of it. At the end of the presentation, I got a lot of “good jobs” and “you did amazing.” I loved every single part of it. My teacher actually counted fifty people in the conference room!

After the hard part was done, I got to relax. I got to go to the guide dog booth and try a Juno lesson. That basically means that a guy was holding the other part of the harness while I held the handle. It was cool because I felt like I could walk without a cane like sighted people do. It made me feel more independent also because of the fact that I walked faster. Finally, it made me want a dog more. I also got to see the new BrailleNote Touch. It is a model of a tablet, but it has a cool keyboard built in to the case. But when you flip up the case,the keyboard is gone. THERE IS JUST A TOUCH SCREEN. I GOT TO TALK TO THE MAN WHO CREATED THE BrailleNote, Greg Stilton. He’s a genius! After that I went to another conference, then my mom and I left the scene of our crime.

This experience was amazing. I think, though, if more kids could present, it would be awesome. It would not only build their confidence, even if it is nervewracking. Just prepare, and you’ll be fine. This was a great experience, again, and more people should do it.

I hope I’ll get the chance to write again. Most likely, you’ll hear from me soon.

Until next time,

Taylor

Exit Interview – Taylor Cox

As the year of Taylor Cox comes to an end, we thought we’d find out what her experience has been like and asked her to share her thoughts in this fun CTEBVI “exit interview”!

Pictured: Taylor Cox

Pictured: Taylor Cox

How did you feel when you won the scholarship?
I felt awesome! It felt so great knowing that I got a scholarship so young and I knew I wouldn’t waste it!

What did you use the scholarship money for this year?
I used the money for recording software and private jujitsu lessons.

What did you learn and why was it important to take these lessons?
I learned a lot of awesome techneques to make certain of the moves better. This was important because it made all the difference between what I knew I could do and what I chose to do. Also, it made me a lot more aggressive!

How do you feel now that your year as the DCYS recipient is over?
I feel sad that the year is over, and I can’t believe how fast the year went by!

What are three words you can use to describe this experience?
Awesome, thrilling, amazing!!

What was your highlight about this year?

I think the highlight of this year was writing The Story of my life because it felt good just to be writing again. I also thought Camp Bloomfield was awesome too.

What did you learn about yourself since receiving the scholarship?
I think I realized how much I like to write. Once I get gowing, it’s really hard to stop. I also learned how lucky I was. I know that other people tried and didn’t get it. I hope that they realize that they can do it again next year too and try their luck.

What advice would you give to future DCYS recipients?
Be yourself. No matter what, just go and write! Also, make sure you pace yourself so that you aren’t scrambling to keep up like I was!

What will you miss the most about the blog?
I think I will miss just writing my experiences. I will also miss looking back at all my other blogs. Finally, I think I’ll miss my name on the blog as 2015 recipient!

What do you want people to know about you?
I think I want people to know that I really did try for the scholarship. There was tough competition and I’m happy that I did this. Also, I want people to know that I keep going, even through hurdles and obstacles. I’m just like a normal teenage girl, except I’m sort of a geek.

Anything else you would like to share?
Good luck to the next recipiant!

You have so many fans who want to know how you’re doing and what you’re up to. We would love to contact you from time to time to update us and we’ll post it to our social media accounts. Is this ok?
Heck yeah!

Festival

Hi! On Friday we went to the festival. The Festival is a type of concert and we get judged. It is in the Garden Grove High School. Bands and orchestras play three pieces of music. I went with my school, Dwyer Middle School. I got to leave school early and got on the bus with my friend, Tim.

​When we got there, we watched two bands and then finally Dwyer performed. They did well. They got excellent, which is the third highest rank you could get. After that was lunch. I talked with my friend Kelly for a little and got ready. I met my friend Rene, who also plays the keys. We were the only piano players in the orchestra. After a short warmup, we went to play.

We did three short pieces. The first one we played was Spring, composed by Antonio Vivaldi. I think we all know that one. The next two were newer. They were called Dramatic Essay and Cello Squadron. Dramatic essay went from slow to very fast in a short transition. The third piece also changed tempo, and the first part reminded me of Star Wars. It had that same heroic feel. Other good news…. We have Cello Squadron on my mom’s phone so I’ll post that to the blog too! You’ll hear me too with the base. I explained the songs themselves a lot. Now I’ll explain the performance.

We did Spring first. I played right hand while Rene played the baseline. She did really well. Me, well, it took me a little bit of time to settle down. Then, after a long break, we played dramatic essay. I played left hand on that one. We rushed a little bit, but we did fine. Cello Squadron did good as well. It was a little harder song to play for me, but it went well. We did great. We ended up placing at Superior. The only thing we could’ve gotten better with was unanimous superior. It was a beautiful day and full of excitement. I loved bragging to my friend in band and telling him we got superior! It was also on the school announcements so everybody knew. It was one of the most fabulous Fridays ever!

The Story Of My Life

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor and Mr. Sweetman with braille notes, computer, phone, and braille display, practicing for the CTEBVI presentation.

Pictured: (l-r) Taylor and Mr. Sweetman with braille notes, computer, phone, and braille display, practicing for the CTEBVI presentation.

Hi! I’ve been so busy these days I haven’t been able to write. To start things off, I made it into the school musical. It is High School Musical and I’m the piano player’s sister, Lizzie. If you have seen the movie, you know that Kelsi is the piano player, however the drama teacher wanted me to have a partner.
​Another new thing right now is I’m doing worship for the little kids at Easter service at my church. I’m singing and playing the piano. We are doing four songs. We’re performing for about five hundred kids. It’ll be really awesome!

Hold on… There’s more! I’m doing a presentation in April at the CTEBVI conference. I’m doing it on how technology helps me be independent in my school day. I won’t blow it for you, but I’m doing it with Bob Sweetman from Sweetman Systems and also my teacher, Jamie Murdy. Definitely check out the Sweetman Systems Booth in the Exhibit hall. Also try to come to my presentation—we had a practice run on Friday and it’s coming along great!

I’ll be writing a lot these coming weeks. And, again, my birthday’s coming up! I’m going to be a rotten teenager now. I’m really excited. I’ll write soon!

Taylor

Thanksgiving Recall

Taylor Cox

Hi, everyone! I’m going to tell you about my Thanksgiving break. On that Sunday, I had a jujitsu tournament and I got third place. It was one of the big tournaments. Everybody trained really hard to be the best that they could be. The tournament was called the World Champions. You could tell because the girls who fight are really good, along with the boys, too. In my opinion, the girls are just as good as the boys.

On Thanksgiving I ran in a 5 k that morning. I started the running club in September. I started by barely making it through one mile, and now, here I was, running a 5k on Thanksgiving. I ran it in about 45 minutes. My mom ran with me, along with my teacher, Mrs. Convery, the teacher who started it all. Her husband, Mr. Convery, ran with us. I had my phone with me and I had made a playlist for it. When I finished, I was really proud. Well, proud and tired. I got a metal and a water bottle, and the whole Thanksgiving ahead of me.

After that, we chilled for a little bit, and then we went to my Grandma’s house. My cousins Nina and Mia were there, along with my other cousins Cameron and Kibo. My aunt Sandy and Uncle Duane were also joining us, along with my parents, my grandpa, and my aunt Corinne. Some of us who brought our bathing suits went into the Jacuzzi. Then, we had turkey, ham, rolls, and macaroni. After that, we kids played a game called Pie face. If you haven’t heard of it, it is where you put your chin on a chin rest and there’s a mask around the machine. You spin the spinner and you will land on a number from 2 to 5. Then you have to push a lever type thing, and if you’re lucky, then you don’t get hit in the face with whipped cream. My older sister, Lauren, has a video of me getting pied, and I’ll see if I can get it from her. That game had everybody laughing. It was an awesome Thanksgiving.

On one of the last days, we went to the beach with my cousins Tyler, Charlie, and Caroline. My aunt Jessica and Uncle Luke came with us, along with their relatives Justin and Ashley. Aunt Jessica and Ashley took Caroline, who’s one now, to get tacos for the boys. Meanwhile, we played football and I tried to peg Uncle Luke in the stomach. I think I got him once, but I don’t remember. When the ladies came back, the boys ate and my mom’s cousin, Chrissy, and our aunt Reeny joined us. It was special seeing them because Chrissy goes to college all the way in New York. We played a little hangman. Uncle Luke and I were a team, and Chrissy and Lauren were a team. Lauren and Chrissy had us stumped because they thought to put the name Randa Rowsy as the man. We got them back when my little cousin, Tyler thought of the word Chewbacca. After that, Chrissy took Lauren shopping which was okay, since I hate it. When they came back, we played another game of Pie Face. Chrissy got it almost every time. She has video of it.
On Saturday, I had a piano recital. I did five songs, and they were pretty long. I did a duet with my teacher, and I did another piece called Fantasia. It was cool because my teacher had a keyboard and I had it sound like a harpsichord. After all, that was what it was written for in the first place because it was made before the piano was invented. I came up a second time to play my composition Pegasus, and I played another song called A Whispered Promise. Then, I played the grand finale, Fur Elise. If you looked it up on the Internet, then I have a feeling you would recognize it.

I’ll write again soon, and for Christmas Break, I’ll try not to make it as long as it was. Be expecting another one soon!
Taylor

What Is Jiujitsu

Pictured: (l-r) Bill (Taylor’s instructor), Taylor and Chad (Taylor’s other instructor) — Photo courtesy: Taylor Cox

Hi! I haven’t written about Jujitsu yet, so I’m going to give a brief overview.

For those who don’t know, Jujitsu is a martial art. The object is to make someone tap on you to signify that something hurts or that you’re getting choked. Another way to win is to win on points for doing certain moves. For example, for the mount, which is fancy for “someone sitting on top of you” you get four points. Almost all of the matches end up on the ground. You can take them down, which is kind of like tackling, or pull guard, which is just wrapping your legs around someone. There is no punching or kicking, thank god.

The sport works by a belt system. You start off with a white belt. Then, when you get four stripes which are made out of tape, by the way, you move to grey belt. Then, when you get four stripes on that, you become a yellow belt. Then, you get four stripes on that, then you’re an orange belt. Four more stripes and then you’re a green belt. When you turn sixteen, you get your blue belt. Same rules apply, only different colors. For adults, it’s blue, purple, brown, black, and legends get red belt. If you’re a new adult to this sport, you have to get a white belt before blue. It sounds confusing, but you get used to it. At least, I get used to it because I’ve been doing it for four years.

As most of you know, I’ve been taking privates with my instructor, Chad. I’ve only done about four, but I’ll be doing more. We have pictures, but we don’t have a lot of video. I’ll post it as soon as I can.
Another thing is that we had promotions on Friday, December 11. Its where kids or adults get more stripes or a new belt. I got another stripe on my yellow belt. Now the next step for me is orange belt! It was one of my best Christmas presents yet this year. Speaking of Christmas, I’m looking really forward to it this year. Hope to be writing again soon!

Taylor