By Douglas W. Motley – Senior Writer
Last Saturday’s Game of Skate held from 12-noon to 3 p.m. at the Crestline Skate Park was dedicated to the memory of then 16-year-old Daunte Symonette, who tragically passed away on May 7, 2021, from fentanyl poisoning.
This event was not your usual Game of Skate competition, but more of an exhibition of local skateboarders strutting their stuff and performing their best tricks the best they could. Many amazing tricks were performed by some 60 to 100 skateboarders who showed up to honor the memory of Symonette, who was a more than capable and well-respected skater.
According to Daunte’s mother, Regina Brown, who was hosting the event, her son started skateboarding at the age of 10 and attended Rim schools, including Grandview and Lake Arrowhead Elementary schools, as well as Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School. However, during the COVID epidemic, he was home-schooled.
“I sponsored this event to raise awareness and to save our children. They say one pill can kill you, he only had ½ of a pill. His sister found him in his room, unconscious. He was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he was declared brain-dead. I gave them permission to take him off of life support. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Brown said, with tears in her eyes.
Brown added, “Daunte was a good kid, he went to church, he was in scouts, took karate lessons and was involved in sports. He even protected kids who were bullied at the skate park.”
Asked how Daunte got the deadly pill, Brown said it was from a kid at the skate park. “He was told it was Percocet.” When asked whether the person who gave him the pill was arrested and prosecuted, she responded, “The sheriff’s office told me there wasn’t enough evidence to prove it.”
Although the event was co-sponsored by Rim Family Services, a longtime Sky Forest counseling and suicide-prevention agency, its Prevention Program Director Jessie Rogers announced that the agency would be closing because the county pulled out of its contract to fund them.
When Game of Skate was over just before 3 p.m., the 60 or so participants who were still there posed for a group photo. After that, the group grabbed “swag” (skateboard-related products) that were being tossed to them by event officials. Some of those items included skateboard decks, Grizzly Griptape, Stoop Co. shirts and Best Tricks Awards stickers. Before leaving, Brown encouraged those remaining to sign a document pledging never to use (illegal) drugs.