Teachers Climb Too

Teachers are often the light that help shape children’s lives as they grow into adults. Earlier this year, I was blessed to be a part of an inspiring teacher’s story.  Clare La Pier reached out to me through my blog shortly after reading my memoir. She’s taken on a lot of adversity in her own life and has used it as fuel to push herself forward, as well as to push her students toward their own summits.

Recently, she took the No Barriers Pledge, and here’s an excerpt from her powerful blog comment:

"For the first time in over 8 years, I feel I can go on a school field trip, which will be snow shoeing in Heart Lake and then climbing Mount Jo in Lake Placid. I did go on www.nobarriersusa.org and made a pledge and set my goal. For the first time since my father passed, I know where he is.

My father passed away this summer, and my mother was ill at the same time and couldn’t make it to his funeral. I was literally numb for months, as my Dad was the strongest man I knew and he and I were inseparable. I didn’t want to cry or upset family members that were trying to move on, so I kept it in trying to find my dad in several odd places, including my closet. My Dad suffered from a rare genetic disorder call Cavernous Malformations of the Brain and Spinal Cord. He was paraplegic for three years confined to a hospital bed in pain that was difficult to control. It was very hard to watch him as his adventurous outdoor life was stripped away. He never complained once, and he too, had to devise “systems” to manage his life. I also have this condition, but only multiple cavernomas in my brain, along with an aneurysm they found. My spinal cord was spared. Anyway, for several of years I was diagnosed with panic attacks and agoraphobia, which now may be attributed to the cavernomas in my brain."

Clare did go on her school field trip and here’s a photo of her with her No Barriers Flag. We all have barriers, but the hardest part is believing we are strong enough to shatter them.  Clare did.


Clare is a special education teacher at Momot Elementary School in Plattsburgh, NY.  After learning about how Clare has encouraged her students to take on their own adversities, I had the chance to Skype her class and do a fun Q & A. It was incredible. The kids had some of the most interesting questions I’ve ever been asked, even compared to corporate clients: "What did the people who doubted you say when you returned home after successfully summiting Mt. Everest?” and “When you began your Mount Everest expedition did you feel like you were going into battle? How did you prepare?”


Clare even had her students do writing assignment called, “What’s Your Everest?” Each student took on a challenge for the remainder of the school year and then reflected on if they had completed it or what was next. Check out these photos of her class with their “Everest’s”.

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And by the way, Clare and her class did one more field trip,  Lake Placid before school was out.

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In the spirit of inspiring others, Clare reached out to the media and her story was featured in the Plattsburg Press Republican. They even created video to include with the article. Check them out! http://www.pressrepublican.com/news/local_news/article_60d5c951-d813-52b9-a59c-844a517b1d46.html

If you would like to take on your own No Barriers Pledge, HERE is the link.

Thank you Clare for sharing your story and for helping inspire my team to take on our own challenges and to help others to take on theirs. As the new school year is starting up, I encourage all of us to remember, you will always have an Everest, and each day you can dedicate yourself to climbing closer to the summit.

Keep Climbing!