Skateboarders generally aren’t seen by the public at large as “The College Types”. Being a skateboarder in college, I’m uniquely perturbed by this narrow-minded and short-sighted stereotype. So when I first sat down with Keegan Guizard, the founder of Collegiate Skate Tour, back in October of 2016, I was intrigued in his pioneering efforts to bridge the gap between skateboarding and higher education opportunities. It seemed like a sensible strategy to start shattering this glass ceiling that skaters have imposed on ourselves, and that society has saddled us with. Collegiate Skate Tour Founder, Keegan Guizard, speaking from experience. After seeing the level of ripping that went down on a rainy afternoon in Queens the following day, I was confident in CST’s ability to attract and share it’s message with skateboarding’s talented youth. After all, there is no better way to connect with skateboarders than through a sweaty skate sesh at the local spot (or park). However, the one aspect that I doubted to myself was the effectiveness of getting that pro-college message across in a hectic street-contest setting. In the middle of a chaotic skatepark jam session where making sure not to cross into anyone else’s line is taxing enough, I wondered if such an important message was falling on deaf, preoccupied ears. Launching one off the top deck This is precisely why I made myself available, on the day after I finished my last final exam of my junior year, to check out Collegiate Skate Tour’s return to New York. This was not a hectic street contest; this session was quite the opposite. In collaboration with the Harold Hunter Foundation, this event was held at the Keep Grinding workshop at the House of Vans. In doing so, my doubts about the effectiveness of this sort of program were soon eliminated. The ensuing presentation was not particularly substantial, in terms of covering every single aspect of preparing for higher education. The key here was that it was a rare presentation produced specifically for members of the skateboarding community, by skateboarders, to give a broader perspective of the possibilities that are out there, just waiting to be seized. No teachers. No academic advisors. No recruiters. It was simply a group of college-experienced skateboarders, trying to mentor other skateboarders through a few of the hurdles of getting a higher education. Locking into a crispy front blunt. By gathering skaters in an environment more conductive to lecturing, the message from Collegiate Skate Tour and from the Harold Hunter Foundation was demonstrated with greater specificity, and came across far more clearly than might be achieved in a typical skatepark setting. This session tackled leading (and widespread) concerns from skaters regarding the immediate challenges of preparing for college by explaining solutions like grants, scholarships, and loans. It stressed the need to exercise freedom of choice in the college setting, and encouraged skaters to drop classes and switch majors if they became undesirable (even if it’s not always a popular strategy). It told up-front, real-world stories about some skaters hating school, and not finding their desire to continue their education until long after dropping out. Last but not least, it provided hope in showing the examples of very real and tangible benefits that could only be achieved through a college experience. Some examples of “extracurricular college perks” included the freedom to tailor a class schedule around skateboarding, starting/joining clubs that aligned with personal interests, and meeting new people to go skate with; the goal here was to reinforce the reality that not every moment in college has to be spent studying, or preparing for the next exam. College delivers some real-world lifestyle and recreation benefits as well. The mantra for the night, according to Shut Skateboards’ Michael Cohen, was that “attitude is everything.” It’s everything in college, just as it’s everything in skateboarding. If you can imagine it, then you can do it. Then, as is typical of Collegiate Skate Tour events, an impressive amount of shredding went down after the workshop. Skaters are always ready to take on whatever challenges might lie ahead. CST merely puts “education” on the challenge radar of the everyday skater, and points them toward the path of personal success. Danny, as always, would like to extend his appreciation to Maya Minhas for editing his photos.