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Skateboarding Student Dedicates Clothing Brand to Windsor Skateboarder Killed in Hit-And-Run

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DALSON CHEN, WINDSOR STAR

[Photo: Jaggar Ford-Klein, 16, shows a T-shirt from his Pushing For Knowledge skateboarding apparel brand to fellow Assumption high school students on May 17, 2017. NICK BRANCACCIO / WINDSOR STAR]

Published on: May 17, 2017 | Last Updated: May 17, 2017 7:57 PM EDT

It’s been just over a year since Windsor skateboarder Ryan Barron was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver in Vancouver — but Assumption high school student Jaggar Ford-Klein is keeping his friend’s spirit alive in an entrepreneurial way.

The mission statement of Pushing For Knowledge — Ford-Klein’s skateboarding apparel and merchandise brand — draws inspiration from Barron and his passion for skateboarding.

“Our idea is to eliminate the stereotypes about skateboarding, and to better the skateboarding community in various ways,” said Ford-Klein, 16.

“Ryan was a close friend of mine. He taught me how to skateboard … He’d go out of his way to do anything for skateboarders.”

“We need good people like Ryan was. Losing him impacted the community a lot.”

Ford-Klein currently has T-shirts and skateboard wax bearing the PFK logo, designed by himself and Logan Paroian. They’ve also organized and sponsored competitions under the Pushing For Knowledge name.

Assumption College Catholic High School teacher Jeremy Bracken encouraged Ford-Klein to pursue the enterprise, and offered guidance through his business class.

“At Assumption, we really believe in experiential learning,” Bracken said. “We want to make sure we open every door possible to help our students take their passion and turn it into a successful business.”

On Monday, Ford-Klein was one of 20 finalists from across Ontario who attended the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery conference in Toronto.

In a presentation before an audience and a panel of judges, Ford-Klein explained the origins behind PFK and his goals with the brand.

This summer, PFK will benefit from a grant through the Ontario government’s Summer Company program. Ford-Klein has plenty of ideas for the brand’s future: more products, more events, and perhaps someday a storefront.

“I hope to open my own skate shop,” Ford-Klein said. “Maybe in a couple years.”

Other students from the region who also made it to the finals of the OCE Discovery conference were: Raymond Tran of Kennedy high school, who pitched his LITLYTE spoon lamps; Liam Gleason and Ben Arquette of Assumption, who pitched their 3D printing service; and Hanna Ruuth of Tecumseh Vista Academy, who pitched her online campaign to educate young voters.

Meanwhile, the quest for justice continues in the case of who killed Ryan Barron. Although Vancouver police recovered the vehicle that investigators believe was involved in the collision, there have been no arrests and no charges laid.

Asked for an update on Wednesday, Vancouver police spokesman Const. Jason Doucette said there is no new information to share on the case at this time.

dchen@postmedia.com