Just this once, the staff at Walnut Grove Secondary are making an exception for students using skateboards in class.
A dozen students in Darren McKay's Grade 11 carpentery and joinery class took part in a special project this spring to create their own longboards.
"Gone are the days of making umbrella racks and planter stands for Mum," McKay said.
The project started when the school was approached by GreenFoot Longboards, a Port Kells firm that makes environmentally friendly boards. Longboards are skateboards stretched out. Instead of being optimized for tricks and sudden changes of direction, they're designed for downhill racing speed, in a sport much like luge, and requiring full-face helmets and padded gloves and suits.
Student Nic Jackson was one of the classmembers who had already tried out a longboard, albeit not in a downhill race.
"I bought a longboard about a year ago," Jackson said. He uses it to get from A to B, rather than for speed.
"I liked it a lot, actually," he said of the project. It gave him the chance to craft a board that is different from everyone else's completely unique.
The students designed their boards on paper, then carved them out of MDF, a kind of soft fibreboard to make mockups.
Then they used the blanks supplied by GreenFoot to create the finished product.
Jackson said the thing he learned from creating his longboard was not a technical skill.
"You need to be patient," he said, "a lot."
If you don't get the elements perfect, it won't turn out right, he said.
Jackson Hilts and Tyler Raffle of GreenFoot came by Walnut Grove on Thursday to see the boards the students had made.
Hilts was impressed with the variety of cool shapes the students had cut out of the blanks.
He also handed out some safety advice to any students planning on taking their boards down any hills, or even just out on their streets.
"We never step on our boards without having a helmet on our heads," Hilts said.
Gloves are also mandatory when riding at any speed, to preserve the skin on your hands in case of a spill.
He talked about riding in groups, stopping for stop signs, and the most important rule: "Don't go faster than you can stop."