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Professional skateboarders Tony Hawk and Chris Cole perform for the students at San Dieguito Academy during the SDA Ramp Up Skate Demo, which provided an opportunity for pros and students alike to display their skills. Photo by Francesca Finley
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San Dieguito Academy skate demo provides for a good cause and good times

ENCINITAS — San Dieguito Academy launched its inaugural Ramp Up Skate Demo on Nov. 9, which provided a platform for skateboarding students and professionals — including legend Tony Hawk — to showcase their skills live on campus.

The lead student organizer, sophomore Olivia Alcantar, said a main goal of the demo was to make student skateboarders feel more connected to the San Dieguito Academy campus community.

Unlike more traditional student activities such as football games and plays, Alcantar said, “The school doesn’t get to see the talents of its skateboarders.” She elaborated, “My teacher Mr. Norris pointed out how kids can walk around campus dribbling a basketball and not get in trouble, but students are not allowed to skate on school grounds.”

Hawk, whose planned appearance was kept a secret until demo day, and fellow professional Chris Cole dazzled the crowd as they launched off a ramp at the same time and flawlessly stuck the landing.

Two female phenoms also displayed their talents: Jordyn Barratt and Bryce Wettstein, who placed first and second, respectively, in the recent Exposure Bowl Pro event in Encinitas, which was part of the largest skateboarding event for women in the world. Barratt graduated from San Dieguito Academy, while Wettstein is currently a student there. Both are championship surfers, too.

The demo also provided a way of collecting donations for Rollin’ From The Heart, a foundation dedicated to the mission of “providing disadvantaged and at-risk youth the opportunity to participate in skateboarding, surfing and camping in an effort to promote a more active lifestyle and encourage positive choices.”

Encinitas couple John and Alison Barry launched Rollin’ From The Heart as a tribute to their son, who died at age 22 after an accidental fall from a beach cliff in Leucadia. Ian has been described as a kind and unique person who was in constant motion; he was a passionate skateboarder who taught kids how to skate at the Encinitas YMCA, he surfed competitively, loved to hike and camp, and enjoyed building and riding vintage Harleys.

San Dieguito students sold T-shirts they had made and donated clothing and skateboarding gear to the organization, while Rollin’ From The Heart provided raffle prizes.

A confluence of students and community members made the inaugural skate demo possible.

Student Merrick McGill secured a ramp for the event via her father’s business, McGill’s Skateshop. Teacher Kelly Baggins got Chris Cole to come, while teacher Ollie Norris was instrumental in helping the students get the demo off the ground and organized. A student band called The Elements performed. Sam Daitch, Toni Billante, Troy Zevin and Hudson Weesner from Alcantar’s ASB class — which was where the idea for the demo came from — also played crucial roles.

When asked what she learned from coordinating an event for the first time, Alcantar said, “I found out that people will wait until the last minute to turn things in. I also learned that you can’t let setbacks get you off track.”

Alcantar does not skate but thinks it’s fun to watch. She said that her father — who once owned a skateboard ramp company called Ramp Logic — was very excited about and proud of her involvement. Alcantar wants to host a skate demo every year on San Dieguito’s campus. When she’s a senior, she plans on recruiting a sophomore to take over her position.