Leadership in the Community

From “Developing the Leaders Around You” by John C Maxwell, I learned many key ideas about leadership and the different aspects of helping others grow their own leadership. I chose three of them to write about in this blog post.


Concept 1

“The Tour Guide takes people to their destination” (John Maxwell, 1995).

One of the many things Maxwell talked about was the ‘Tour Guide’ concept. He stated that there were two different types of leaders, the travel agent and the tour guide. Essentially, a leader that tells you what to do and watches you do it versus a leader that shows you what to do and helps you do it, taking their mentee along with them on their learning journey.

To me, that means that while you’re helping someone figure out their journey, you might as well go through it with them once more. Even though you’ve been there before, and you know what’s going to happen, there’s no harm in doing it again. I think of it almost like re-watching a movie you enjoy; although you know the ending and the plot, you still like watching it. Every time there’s something new you see that you’ve never noticed before.

During trip planning, it’s a process that requires all available hands and brains. Although it could be easier to just tell the grade nines what to do and leave it alone, I enjoy working alongside them much more. It’s really fulfilling to be part of the process and see everyone coming and working together. Especially since the upcoming trips will be overnight trips and require much more planning, the grade tens must help. It’ll be new to us as well, and we’ll be learning alongside the nines even as we try to mentor them.


Concept 2

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power’ (Lao Tzu, unknown).

The second idea I chose to write about was that to be a good leader, you should work on yourself and your skills first before you lead others. Maxwell states that everything starts with the leader, whether that be making decisions or leading by example. The same applies to self-improvement; no one can truly change you except yourself.

This is something I work on constantly; in TALONS, my main focus is to work on my own leadership skills while helping develop others. Because I’m still learning and growing, often the mentorship I provide others may not be as steady and sure as it would be if I had many years of experience. However, the more that I lead others, the more I’d be improving my own leadership capabilities.

When you try to improve your leadership, it may not be so obvious to others; but the most important part of it is that you’re consciously trying to improve. I always think about my leadership and how I can help the others around me, learning from my experiences as I go. At the beginning of the year planning the day trips, I could barely lead the people around me as I was also figuring everything out myself. However, near the end, I took more initiative as I was more confident in what I was doing. By the time the spring adventure trip planning comes, I hope that I’ll be a reliable mentor for the peers in my group.


Concept 3

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher” (Oprah Winfrey, 2011).

My last concept is an idea from session 1, stating that “those closest to the leader will determine the success of the leader”.  I took this to mean that if you surround yourself with others that are as or more successful as you (in any area), it challenges you to grow yourself and get closer to your fullest potential. It will do the same to them as well, and you will see, as a group, the development and change over time. It’s like joining a ski class; there are different class levels because a skier that can go on black runs learning alongside skiers that are just starting on green runs won’t learn as much as if they were in a class full of other advanced skiers. It can apply to almost every other sport, workplace, and more. This idea resonated with me because it’s one of the main reasons I joined TALONS. I wanted to be in a class full of like-minded people that challenged me every day to grow and better my learning. Going through my last year in this program, I hope to make the same change and impact on the grade nines below me as the class before had had on me and my peers. So far, the biggest impression the grade nines have left on me is how confident they are, and how eager they are to participate and learn. Already, they’ve taken initiative in planning and are more than capable of the tasks they are given. Their enthusiasm challenges me to take more responsibility to help them grow their skills and capability in leadership.


To learn more about John Maxwell and his works, you can see his website here.

Works Cited

Maxwell, John. Developing the Leaders Around You. HarperCollins, 2013.





Eminent Person Introduction

For my eminent project this year, I chose to research Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, professionally known as Doja Cat. Doja Cat is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter. An overnight sensation who, in just three years, became one of the most easily recognizable names in the world. As someone who listens to her music, I’ve been impacted by her fame and publicity, and her well-known personality and humour.  

At the age of 16, she began making and producing her own songs online, and after releasing her first song ‘So High’ on the streaming platform SoundCloud in 2016, she was quickly noticed by Kemosabe and RCA Records, with whom she signed a joint record deal a year later. After a flopped debut album in 2018 titled Amala, her self-made music video ‘Mooo!’ became a viral internet meme, amassing over 75 million views. The following year, she released her second studio album, with many of the tracks going viral on the online platform TikTok such as ‘Streets’, ‘Say So,’ ‘Rules’, and more. Although this album was a key point in her career and rising success, it was her third studio album that she released in June 2021 that solidified her as one of the most prominent singers of her generation. ‘Planet Her’ broke records for her and the collaborators, topping charts and winning multiple awards. And just this month, she passed Drake as the most-streamed rapper on Spotify, with over 63 million monthly listeners.  

Her music has been a key influence on popular culture, with most teens today listening to her songs, and her name frequenting news and the radio. She’s also famed for being a comedic personality, often connecting with her audience on the internet. In fact, she even wrote the song ‘Mooo!’ alongside her fans on Instagram live. She has cited Nicki Minaj as one of her biggest influences, with critics noting that her latest album seems to have taken inspiration from the artist. Doja Cat’s achievements and influence are on track to only get bigger, with many new artists already listing her as their biggest inspirations, her unique sound and style finding their way into others’ music.  

As our eminent project continues, I plan to research more into what made her so likeable as an artist and internet personality, and how she skyrocketed to fame so quickly. I’m excited to research more about Doja Cat, and to share with you my learning! 

Remote Learning/Digital Projects Reflection

During this pandemic, many workplaces and companies have had to change the way they do business; the same can be said for schools. In our area, we are still fortunate enough to be able to go to school face-to-face, even if it is part-time. I think that this hybrid year has been very difficult for some, but has also benefited others. It may be easier to concentrate at home when you’re in your personal space, but it may be the opposite for others. Personally, I’ve always learned better in the classroom; it’s hard for me to focus at home, where there are so many things I could be distracted by. Additionally, with the challenge of technology, which in and of itself is a major distraction, it’s hard for me to focus on an assignment when distraction is just one click away. I would say that this hybrid-style school year has been more of a struggle for me than a benefit. Not only did I have to adjust to the challenge of entering high school and the Talons program, but it was also harder for me to connect with my teachers and peers when they were through a computer screen half of the time. With that said, I don’t think I’ll miss this school year; the only thing that I was grateful for was that there were no final exams (although I think that keeping that part will be unlikely).

But along with the many adjustments made to the curriculum and school system, I am very glad to have had technology. For my eminent project, I set up a website for my learning centre. It was a lot easier to make than if I had to had made a poster by hand. It’s also a lot more visually pleasing and easy to navigate.



I was also pretty grateful for the time I had to make a project for my Mandarin elective; being able to research and put together a powerpoint at home was a lot less stressful than having to do it in class in the same amount of time.



Interwar: The Great Depression

After World War I, Canada faced the Roaring 20s with huge economic growth. Soldiers were back from battlefields, businesses began running up again, and more people entered the workforce. Stable jobs gave workers the confidence to spend their income on consumer goods. Now this branches into different categories that eventually lead to The Great Depression.


Businesses that were making a profit from selling consumer goods decided to expand their company. What better way to make money than from producing more products to sell? But oh no, the increase in productions lead to OVERPRODUCTION. Surplus of products began piling up and businesses began slowing down manufacturing. Employers ultimately began laying off workers or paying lower wages. This started a cycle:



Stock Market Crash:

People with money looked to the American stock market as another source of income. Why be rich when you can spend money to become even richer? Canadians, as well as people from around the world, began investing in stocks.

Speculating: Stocks bought on margin → borrowed money. An individual would sell stocks, repay the loan, and receive massive profit. This resulted in massive inflation of stock prices

Industries such as the Wheat industry began dropping prices due to overproduction and competition with other countries. Companies couldn’t justify their stock prices anymore and they began to drop.

On October 24, 1929, also known as Black Thursday, investors finally realized the drop in stocks and began selling their shares. $12.9 million shares of stocks were sold. This catastrophe continues in a chain reaction and by October 29, 1929, dubbed Black Tuesday, the market crashed. 16.4 million shares were sold and price stickers couldn’t keep up. The market lost $14 billion that day.

Reliance on Exports:

Canada’s economy relied heavily on exporting basic products to other countries. These products (called staples) included wheat, fish, timber, minerals, and crops. In fact, 40% of Canada’s exports were bought by America. From 1925-1929, Canada sold record amounts of crops for record prices but by the end of the 1920s, other countries also had a lot of crops to sell and the competition was tough. Canadian farmers were left with large quantities of unsold wheat and they were forced to drop prices dramatically.


Canadian Prairies faced many droughts through 1930. The dry weather and lack of rain allowed strong winds to pick up dust. Large dust storms destroyed farms and land. Without crops to export, many farms and railways went bankrupt


The consequences of The Great Depression affected the world globally. Canada was hit particularly hard due to our reliance on America and international trade. When the economy started to fall, everyday life for Canadians changed.

Bank Failures:

People who had personal bank accounts were affected as well. The stock market was so appealing that banks took out money from customer accounts to invest. When the market crashed, fractions of their customer’s money was lost. They were only paid back 10 cents for every dollar they had in their account. Hundreds of banks went bankrupt, and many people lost their life savings.


By 1933, 30% of Canada’s population was unemployed and 1 out of 5 Canadians depended on government relief, which was still not enough for basic survival. This lead to poverty and homelessness. Without income, families struggled to provide food and basic utilities for themselves.


As the title of the crisis states, the great depression brought hardships and suffering to Canadians. Before the stock market crash, Canadians put their faith in the system. Greed blinded many people as they continued to invest their life savings. It wasn’t until the reality of overproduction settled in when people began selling stocks at record amounts. From the tragedy of the Great Depression, Canadians learned just how delicate the economy was.


It was not until world war II when the great depression would come to its end. The increase in jobs provided by the demand for industries


New acts and policies were implemented to avoid another economic downfall.


JAM essay

Annie Yin

Humanities 10 TALONS

May 9th, 2019

A founding father or family destroyer


Canada’s current prime minister, Justin Trudeau proudly expresses his nation of diversity and equality, opening the country’s doors to immigrants and refugees. As Canadians celebrate their multicultural identity, the controversy around Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald reemerges in the public spotlight. In recent, various groups are bringing up his actions towards the Metis people and are calling for the removal of Macdonald’s public commemorative arts, as well as schools with his name. Supporters of Mcdonald’s removal argue that his injustice towards Indigenous peoples are unforgivable, while defenders of the prime minister state that his success in confederating Canada, where many call their home, cannot be dismissed. Because of John A. Macdonald’s persistence in unifying Canada, his name and figure should be kept in public spheres for new generations to acknowledge and learn from his good and bad accomplishments.

After the American Civil War, “many believed that Britain was becoming increasingly reluctant to defend its North American colonies against possible American aggression” (Waite). The newly independent United States brought fear of possible British suppression. During his years in power, John A Macdonald created many of the foundations that Canada sit upon today, such as creating the National Policy and separating the newly confederated Canada from American aggression. If his name and mementoes were stripped from the public, John A Macdonald’s legacy would be shrouded in his Indigenous People scandal. His determination in confederating Canada gave Canadians a unified identity. Without our first prime minister, supporters of his removal wouldn’t have a place to riot in the first place.

On the contrary, John A. Macdonald was responsible for the implementation of the ‘Indian Act’. His dream of “[organizing] a system of federal schools for Indigenous children that could be used to disrupt Indigenous lifeways […]” led to the creation of residential schools (Carleton). Families were separated, trusts were broken, and culture was destroyed. Knowledge on his racial discrimination towards Native Americans and the Chinese evokes uneasiness in many Canadians who believe our first prime minister’s values aren’t a good representation of Canada today. In 2018, a statue of John A. Macdonald was removed from Victoria’s city hall “[…] as a gesture of reconciliation” with Indigenous peoples (CBC, 2018). Supporters of his removal are only easing their state of mind, that getting rid of a public statue will solve the tension. Canada is continuously moving towards reconciliations and away from the values of John A. Macdonald’s times. New policies such as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act imposed by Pierre Trudeau seeks to mend the broken trust between Aboriginal Peoples as well as institute diversity in Canada by welcoming all races into its borders.

The chance to learn from Canada’s past is a better decision than covering up our nation’s past. To move forward, we must recognize and acknowledge the fact that our history is not perfect. When values and norms change over time, it’s easy for people to forget the sacrifices and struggles it took for historical figures to achieve what we cherish nowadays: a home. Canada. There wouldn’t be such a place if it weren’t for Sir John A. Macdonald.



Anderson, Rick. “Should Statues of Sir John A. Macdonald Be Removed? No.” Thestar.com, 20 Aug. 2018, www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/thebigdebate/2018/08/20/should-statues-of-sir-john-a-macdonald-be-removed-no.html.

Carleton, Sean. “John A. Macdonald Was the Real Architect of Residential Schools.” Thestar.com, 9 July 2017, www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/09/john-a-macdonald-was-the-real-architect-of-residential-schools.html.

Farber, Bernie M., et al. “Should Statues of Sir John A. Macdonald Be Removed? Yes.” Thestar.com, 21 Aug. 2018, www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/thebigdebate/2018/08/21/should-statues-of-sir-john-a-macdonald-be-removed-yes.html.

Gerster, Jane. “’Statues Are Not History’: Considering the Removal of Sir John A. Macdonald.” Global News, 12 Aug. 2018, globalnews.ca/news/4380641/does-removing-statues-change-history/.

“Ontario Teacher Explains Why Sir John A. Macdonald’s Name Should Be Stripped from Public Schools | CBC Radio.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 24 Aug. 2017, www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.4258866/ontario-teacher-explains-why-sir-john-a-macdonald-s-name-should-be-stripped-from-public-schools-1.4258872.

“Sir John A. Macdonald.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sir-john-alexander-macdonald.

“The Controversy around John A. MacDonald’s Complicated Legacy | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 5 Nov. 2018, www.cbc.ca/news/thenational/the-controversy-around-john-a-macdonald-s-complicated-legacy-1.4892095.

Waite, P.B. “Confederation.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/confederation


House of Dreams: The Life of Lucy Maud Montgomery

In the peaceful, fictional plains of Avonlea, a red-headed orphan captured the hearts of readers from around the globe. Published in 1908, Anne of Green Gables is regarded as a classic Canadian children’s novel, and upon its publication, the author of the book, Lucy Maud Montgomery, would grow to become one of Canada’s greatest female authors.

Montgomery’s Canadian identity shone through Anne of Green Gables. She was “fiercely passionate about Cavendish, her childhood home base” in Prince Edward Island (pg. 24). Throughout her literary career, Montgomery captured the beautiful essence of Canada. What was only a small province, became home to a symbol of love and loyalty.


Starting at a young age, Lucy Maud Montgomery was a dreamer. Growing up in her grandparents Macneill’s house after her mother’s death, Montgomery didn’t get a lot of emotional support from the beginning. Numerous times in the loneliness of her childhood, she kept herself company with wild fantasies and imaginary friends. Montgomery searched and devoured every book in the Macneill home library, which was not a lot. In her household, fiction was frowned upon as reading material for children, but Montgomery knew she was destined to express herself through writing. She poured her heart and soul into every journal entry, relentlessly scribbling down thoughts and goals for the future. While others had loved ones willing to listen, Lucy Maud Montgomery had her journal and poems.

After finishing her local high school, Montgomery aimed for a teaching degree at various universities. She didn’t want to become a regular old housewife as what was expected during the time. Montgomery was convinced that further education at the prestigious Dalhousie University would boost her writing career. Many of Montgomery’s relatives disapproved of her ambitious dreams. They wondered what in the world Maud needed with more education?

While Montgomery displayed a cheerful and rational persona towards the public, chronic depression plagued the author’s life. As she aged, her mental state only worsened. The loss of many close friends, her unhappy engagements, and growing childhood mood swings took a toll on Montgomery. To cope with the ongoing battles in her mind, writing was her escape route from reality. Despite Montgomery’s broken mentality, she breathed life into her characters. The iconic young protagonist, Anne Shirley, is a symbol of acceptance, innocence, and imagination. She was “the dearest most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice” quoted 73-year-old Mark Twain. As Montgomery argued, “fiction is the art of transformation, […] it allows for happy reconciliations they cannot achieve in life” (pg 105).


Today, Lucy Maud Montgomery is a national treasure to Canada. She embodies the loyalty that we Canadians poses for our homes and backgrounds. Montgomery established a title for Prince Edward Island, drawing attention from all around the world to the little landmark that is historically noted to this day. The government created a national park around the Macneill house, the home where Montgomery grew up in. She was “happy that an authentic Prince Edward Island farmhouse would be preserved and the lands protected” (pg 134 ).

From a young dreamer to a world-renowned author, little did we know a legacy was born from Canada’s smallest province. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s fictional world created through the love of her Canadian identity became her house of dreams.

In_Depth #6 | we’re in the Endgame now

It’s crazy how this is the last in-depth post I’ll ever write. Over the past months, I’ve run into a lot of bumps and problems. At the start of this project, I chose musical instrument repair as my in-depth topic and secured a mentorship at Long&McQuade. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and I was forced to change mentors. I had a few meetups with Sandro Massullo from Massulo Music but from his busy schedule, I realized how slow my progress was. By the time, I was already into the last 3 months of my project and started to get a little panicked. After looking at my April and May schedules, I ultimately decided to switch in-depth topics to something that’s easier for me to do on my own time. Because musical instrument repair required all the tools and resources at my mentor’s workshop, it was hard to keep a frequent visit. Just before spring break, I changed my topic to skateboarding and I’ve been having lots of fun. I’ll go over everything that’s happened since my last blog post.

For the past few weeks, I’ve worked on perfecting my kickturns and attempting some ollies. I had my first few meetings with my mentor (finally!!) and had helpful conversations. During my visits to skateparks, I was unable to film since I have no friends and didn’t want to risk breaking my phone and/or bones. I practiced going down ramps and maneuvering through the park.

Here’s my update on kickturns:

excuse my messy garage

Compared to the videos in my last blog post, my kickturns’ve gotten smoother and less forced. I learned to utilize my arms and body to turn. Jessie, my mentor gave me tips on improving my kickturns.

Jessie: First, count how many kickturns it takes for you to spin 360 degrees all the way around.

Me: *does 5*

Jessie: Nice! Now every time you practice, try reducing the number to 4, then to 3, then to 2, until it only takes one complete turn.

Me: That’s a really handy trick. Thank you!

My “record” so far has only been 3 J.


Now jumping into ollies! Here are a few of my attempts:




They’re still pretty pathetic but when slowed down, you can see that all the wheels are off the ground!

And of course, the fails:


As I look back on these videos, I can see what my problems are. I’m more conscious of my back foot (left foot) and I don’t pay much attention to my front foot. This usually results in my board only going a couple of cm off the ground. I need to work on stomping harder and jumping higher.


Beginners often learn this easy jumping trick to practice foot placement and balance. My mentor introduced me to this trick and it was fairly easy to learn.

jumping trick

I had my first tumble when I attempted a kickturn. It was exhilarating and taught me to wear gloves.

ouch my hands


Jessie informed me that at the basis of every skateboard trick, you have the learn the concept and physics to the movement in order to execute the trick properly. Take an ollie for example. An ollie works by snapping the tail into the ground and popping the whole board up. The rider stands on the balls of their feet with their back foot on the edge of the tail. This allows the ankle to have more flexibility when stomping the tail down. The front foot is placed near the middle-front so that it has room to drag to the nose and level out the board before hitting the ground. Here’s another example with dropping in. This isn’t really a trick but it’s important to know how things usually go wrong when attempting. When dropping in down a ramp, the concept is that the body maintains its central balance. The rider can’t learn too forwards or too backwards.


With skateboarding, there’s not much leeway for alternatives. At the core, it’s just practice and more practice. While not complete alternatives, there are a few hacks that make it easier for beginners to learn tricks. I got some advice from my mentor’s friend who said he practiced his ollies on carpet rather than grass. Carpet feels more like concrete and gives a harder surface for the skateboarder to practice on. There are also products called skater trainers that basically “clog” the wheels so that they cannot roll around. It ensures the board is steady. Personally, I like to practice on hard concrete because it feels more natural.


On in-depth night, I will be showcasing a video montage of my skateboarding progression. I hope it turns out looking cool but it’ll probably just be 5 minutes of me attempting the same trick over and over. In all seriousness, I want the video to show my growth in skill and confidence.

Canadian Biography: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Fiction is the art of transformation. For many writers, including L. M. Montgomery, it allows for happy reconciliations they cannot achieve in real life.”

This passage opened my eyes to how literature saved Lucy Maud Montgomery from her depressive episodes. It was prominent that she took to reading and poetry during her childhood whenever she felt lonely. Without a journal, there was no way Maud could vent out her feelings in solitary. When writing Anne of Green Gables, Maud plucked events and characters from her own reality and drew inspiration from her life. She kept the parts that she held close to her heart, such as her lovely home of Prince Edward Island, but changed many aspects of Anne’s life to the results of what she wanted for hers. Maud experienced many failed relationships, including her unhappy engagement with Edwin Simpson and her miserable senior life after marrying Ewen Macdonald. I like how the author of this biography depicted the importance of fiction to Maud.

The quote beautifully expresses writers during the 1800s-1900s, not just Lucy Maud Montgomery. Life during their times was not as luxurious or as easy. There were many relations to other writers, including Margaret Atwood which the biography mentions. She comments on the main love story in Anne of Green Gables, quoting, “the love story plays out not between Anne and Gilbert Blythe, but between Anne and the love-starved elderly Marilla” (35). After the success of Anne, Maud received a fan letter from Mark Twain, who “[praised] Anne as the dearest, most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice” (pg78). This shows us that Canadian authors during this time were respected by other famous writers.


“There were elegant neighbourhoods of grand mansions, but also the immigrant poor crowded into tenements and factories. Maud saw a bustling city of extreme wealth on one hand, dire poverty on the other.”

This was during the time Lucy Maud Montgomery moved to Halifax for further education at Dalhousie University. It’s interesting how she comes from a rich family, but none of that wealth was given to her. When Montgomery’s personal savings couldn’t pay for tuition, it was grandmother Lucy MacNeill who came to the rescue, donating just enough to meet the minimum requirement for life in Halifax. During her stay at the university, Montgomery lived in poorly kept dorms with no heating while her cousins and aunts stayed at ranches and mansions. She had to rely on herself and her intuition to find comfort during lonely Canadian winters. Montgomery’s descriptions upon her arrival at Halifax gave me a perspective of the social disparity during her times.

It’s great to see how much Canada changed from the aftermath of its confederation to developing the values and norms we have now. As debated in class, some say Canada is a post-national state because of how diverse and accepting we are. With new policies such as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, we are moving away from large power disparities between races. Canada is a place where immigrants and locals can call each other neighbours. When looking back at the norms and values of Montgomery’s time, there was a clear difference between the wealthy to the poor immigrants struggling to be accepted.


“Grandfather seethed with disapproval. Cavendish neighbours and friends clucked their amazement at Maud’s plans. One woman said she couldn’t imagine ‘what in the world’ Maud needed with more education.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery set her career path to becoming a teacher in her early life. Although from a wealthy family, no one but her grandmother Lucy MacNeill supported her. The fact that Maud sought higher education was unfathomable to the rest of her family. I was impressed by how dedicated she was to her studies and passions. To Maud, teaching introduced her to many students and acquaintances who became her best friends and “kindred spirits”. Maud lived with her grandparents for the majority of her childhood. After finishing her teaching major, many of Maud’s job offer required in-person interviews which she couldn’t attend because of grandfather Alexander MacNeill’s refusal to offer a method of transportation. From the lack of emotional and physical support she got from her family, Maud poured her energy into finding a way to positively change people’s lives through storytelling. This also connects to Maud’s quote, “thank God, I can keep the shadows of my life out of my work. I would not wish to darken any other life – I want instead to be a messenger of optimism and sunshine” (pg 79).

Regarding women’s norms during historic times, it was uncommon for females to pursue a lifelong career rather than becoming housewives after marrying. Men were in charge of providing for their family, and women were supposed to care for children. Many of Maud’s female relatives and neighbours followed this norm, baffled at why the young woman would spend money on obtaining more education outside the free public school back in their hometown.

In_Depth #5

Ever since changing my in-depth topic to skateboarding, I’ve been pressured by the short amount of time I have left. There are less than two months until in-depth night so it’s been my goal to practice every day and get to a skill level I am happy with at the end.

During my spring break in China, I didn’t anticipate the horrible WIFI at the places I was staying. Even with a VPN, I was unable to send any emails to Canada. My plan was to find a mentor by the end of spring break but now with the two-week setback, I’m even more concerned for my lack of time. Since coming back from China, I’ve contacted Zumiez, Menu Skate Shop, and a Poco Youth Skateboard instructor. I sent off mentorship request emails as soon as I returned home. After visiting the Zumiez store at the Coquitlam mall on Sunday, I talked with the store manager who received my email. He informed his employees about my request and unfortunately, most of them live in Maple Ridge which is inconvenient for regular meetups. He hasn’t talked to everyone yet but when he does or if anyone is interested, he told me ill be contacted ASAP. As for Menu Skate Shop, they are stationed in Gastown which I have been unable to visit during the past week. There has been no reply from them via email. The Poco Youth Instructor is one of the skateboard program leaders at RailsSide Skatepark. As a volunteer for Port Coquitlam, it would be helpful if one of their staff were my mentor. My last option will be getting a private instructor and paying money for weekly lessons. If I still don’t have a mentor established by next week, then I will have to find an instructor.


I purchased my skateboard in China and here are a few details about it.

–    Deck size 8” and made of 7 layers of Maplewood

–    Trucks and bushings are loose for ease of riding

–    Wheels are 98A and 55mm

Take a look at my board in the videos below!

For the past week ever since getting back from spring break, I’ve been working on my balance and feet placement when riding. Being able to ride comfortably on a skateboard is the most basic skill I can work on by myself. Skateboarders are either Goofy or Normal. I am Normal, meaning my left foot is the front and my right is the back when riding forwards.

Here is how to step onto a skateboard + tilting to turn

stepping onto skateboard

–    My left leg steps onto the front (foot facing forwards)

–    Then my right leg is brought onto the board. Both feet then face towards the side, perpendicular to the skateboard

–    To turn while moving, I tilt side to side



My push offs have gotten a lot smoother and balanced since first starting.


So far, Valerie has been providing great tips and feedback.

Valerie: Your pushing is very good! As you progress, try to keep more of your weight on the foot on the board (left foot) when you take the other foot off to push (right foot). This allows you to go faster because sometimes when the weight is not being controlled by alternating feet, it can slow you down.

The next step would be successfully executing a running start.

running start

despite my friend’s excited “ohh” this was still terrible and far from perfect.



Kickturning is when you balance on your back wheels for a moment and swing the front of your board to a new direction.


kickturn while moving

Valerie: It’s a light touch rather than a stomp. You just put pressure on the back foot to lift the nose (front) of the board up. But in terms of being more comfortable and fluid with it, you really have to move your whole body because if you don’t and only do little shuffles with your feet, it can lead to counter rotation. So after you lift the front of your board up a bit, initiate it with your hips and body rather than JUST the feet. It’s easier to rotate your body and have your feet follow in harmony than forcing it with only your feet.

I still have a lot to work on with kickturns. From Valerie’s feedback, I will work on swinging my arms and moving my whole body when turning. My goal is to be able to do a complete 360-degree spin on the back wheels.



An ollie is the foundation for most skateboard tricks. This is how the movement works:

–    The front foot jumps up first, following up with the back foot pressing down on the tail and having the board hit the ground. This will make the skateboard pop up into the air

–    While in the air, the front foot is positioned at the nose of the board and guiding the whole skateboard parallel to the ground

ollie movement

ollie attempts

An ollie is difficult for beginners. I am estimating at least a week of practice before getting used to the movement and timings of the trick. Next week, I will hopefully have a better video to show you.

Without a mentor, I can unable to provide a conversation using the six hats. But to show my understanding here’s some of my own thinking categorized into the colours.

While Hat: When going downhill, the only way I can stop is by falling/jumping off the board. Tail scraping is going to wear down the back of my board and if I use my foot to scrape the ground, the bottoms will get destroyed. Until I learn how to kickturn stop, I’ll have to make do with throwing myself off the board.

Red Hat: Kickturns look so easy but why is it so frustrating for me.

Black Hat: I either don’t lift the board enough or I lift it too much [when kickturning]. I have to find that “in-between”.

Yellow Hat: Hey, at least I haven’t broken any part of my body.

Blue Hat: I’ll work on my balance and foot placement on the grass first, then move onto cement.

Skateboarding has been really fun I don’t regret changing my in-depth topic. My goals for next week are to perfect kickturns, try out some more easy tricks from YouTube, and to gain more confidence on the board. See you next blog post!