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An Arkansas-based skateboarding friar arrives to observe Catholic Schools Week



Little Rock, Arkansas – A skating friar with a message on perseverance visited St. Theresa Catholic School in southwest Little Rock as a special guest speaker as part of Catholic Schools Week.

A Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate with a special interest, Brother Gabriel Cortes. He travels the nation on a skateboard while teaching students about the Bible and uses skateboarding as an illustration of “getting back on the board” and having faith.

“We go where we’re sent,” Br. Gabriel explained. “And we bring the gospel to whatever land we find ourselves in.”

St. Theresa, a Little Rock Catholic school where the brother initially met him, was the most recent stop.

“We celebrate that we’re here,” principal Kristy Dunn said about the presentation, “and we’re different and we take care of kids….teaching is based on relationship and learning is based on engagement.”

Brother Gabriel acknowledges that it is a special approach to engaging with students and notes that “not many people have it.” But judging by how the kids responded, they like it.

“[It’s] making use of all the analogies that go along with skateboarding of falling down and getting back up,” Br. Gabriel explained, sometimes even using the students themselves in his demonstrations – lining kids up and jumping over them after a quick bible verse as a sort of “leap of faith”.

As an illustration of pushing forward, rising up after falling, and never looking back, he explains it.

Brother Gabriel has been kickflipping classrooms all over the nation for 19 years. He even collaborates with Motherboards, a Denver-based Christian skate, ski, and surf company named for the Blessed Mother Mary.