Of our five skaters, three are just weeks away from high school. During the long drive from Dallas to Phoenix to Los Angeles, the rising high schoolers – Niall, Sean and Willem – actually stopped talking about skating long enough to discuss the upcoming school year in the van. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

Niall: 8th grade sucked. Everyone tried to be really cool. I hope 9th grade isn’t like that … Being in the same school and being stuck with the same people is something I’m not looking forward to … I think I’ll have to get my work done faster and not procrastinate like I used to. It will make me more responsible because all of my grades will matter, not just some of them … I think they’re trying to scare us to do our best in school, they’re over exaggerating.

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Sean: Freshman year will go slow, I think, but then each year after that will go faster than the last … I’ll get to make new friends and will have to get used to a new educational style. I’ve spent most of my middle school years with the same crowd and I’d like to expand my friendships … When you’re in high school, grades are more significant. In middle school, grades aren’t irrelevant, but they don’t totally guide the direction your future is going in. In high school your grades are more a reflection of where you’re going in life. I guess I’m sorta worried and anxious about that …  In middle school, if you understand the subject but don’t really try that hard to get the highest grade, that’s better than not quite understanding but getting OK grades. The grades aren’t as important as learning the material.

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Willem: In the past and during 8th grade, high school was something that didn’t really apply to me. I just kinda pushed it to the back of my mind and told myself to forget about it. Now that high school is right around the corner I find myself embracing it more and more … While I would not say I am excited for high school I’m very glad to be done with middle school. I am somewhat nervous about high school, but just like middle school I think I’ll get used to it … We’re going to have people from different schools and we won’t be hanging around with the same group of people from last year … I don’t think 9th grade matters as much as the later years do … In 6th grade it was cool to skate. In high school it’s cool to be a jock. But I’m still going to skate.

[Nathan, going into 7th grade, and Leo, going into 8th, chimed in occasionally with their own thoughts on the matter of school… Nathan decided he wanted to skip 7th grade and catch up to Leo in 8th. He might not even ask permission. And Leo said he’s already decided he’s going to attend the University of Southern California, specifically business school.]

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To follow the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, check out http://sk8thest8s.cbslocal.com/