Students keep decade-long promise, send skateboards to Syrian children

SAN DIEGO - For most of us, a skateboard is well, just a skateboard. But for High Tech High School junior Abdulla Alexander, a skateboard is a reminder of a promise he made to childhood friends in Syria as he was leaving the country 10 years ago.

Alexander promised to one day return with skateboards for them all.

Alexander is an American who lived in Damascus for a few years while his father was involved in a university abroad exchange program.  Now, Alexander is 17-year-old and his former home is ravaged by war. He often wonders what happened to his friends and about his promise.

Fellow High Tech High student Amir Alamin heard Alexander's story through the San Diego Sanctuary Project and was inspired.

The sophomore teamed up with other freshmen, sophomores to work on their project. They were able to get 30 skateboards donated to them and commissioned a group of fourth graders to help cover them with images and messages of friendship, hope and strength. The messages were in both English and Arabic.

Before the skateboards ship out, they will be on display May 25 at the Queen Bee Art and Cultural Center in North Park.

The skateboards will make their way to a group of Syrian children who live in a refugee camp in Jordan. When the boards ship, a local doctor will be on site to deliver them.

The students are also raising money to send helmets and pads with the boards. To help, contact Lisa Griffin at lgriffin@hightechhigh.org.