Longboarder Byron Essert (LEAP*) talks about totem poles and how Quest’s Block Plan helps him excel at his sport.

What’s your Question?

How can science and traditional knowledge influence each other?

Tell us about studying on the Block Plan, especially as a LEAP student.

The Block Plan allows for me to deeply explore the contents of one class at a time. Recreation Manager JF Plouffe and the LEAP program provide opportunities to give back to Mother Earth and keep my skateboarding skills sharp while still being a full-time student.

How is Quest helping you excel at your sport?

Quest is helping me excel at skateboarding by giving me the freedom to take Blocks off when I need to travel for events and competitions.

You recently did some work on a Totem Pole. How did you get involved and what did you get out of the project?

Simon, a First Nation member on Bowen Island, is heading a community-influenced totem pole project in which all 250-ish students from a Bowen Island elementary school contributed ideas of what should be depicted on the totem pole. Quest Tutor Mai Yasue informed some Quest students about the opportunity to come help carve the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) log. Matt Peck, Christian Ahrenkiel, Graeme Lee Rowlands and I ventured to Bowen to help out. Simon let us help him rotate the log and strip the sapwood off using his arsenal of homemade wood-carving tools. Working under the guidance of Simon, the master carver, on such a long-lived log was an enriching, beautiful and humbling experience.

What would you tell someone who is thinking of attending Quest?

Understand what the Foundation program involves before you commit to coming here. Be ready to study many things that you might not be particularly excited about, but you will be surprised to discover what academic fields will attract your attention and maybe your passion.


* Our Leaders in Elite Athletics & Performance (LEAP) program provides high-level athletes and performers a chance to get an education while continuing to thrive in their sport or art. LEAP is open to a wide range of activities. LEAP students can take longer to graduate, are eligible for LEAP scholarships, and can use the flexibility of the Block Plan to spend time training, competing and touring while earning their degree.


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