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RYAN JONES

Graduating Class: 1995
Current Position: Facilitator by nature, empowering teams to build amazing software at Signature Consultants
Current Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Education / School 1: Fresno City College, San Jose State University
I still remember the day my parents took me to my sister’s school (EB) to go through what I didn’t realize at the time was an en-
trance exam. I really enjoyed talking with the adults and making shapes with blocks. At the time, I was too young to really under-
stand much about school, let alone what a bilingual school was.

A decade ago when I left EB, I would not have imagined looking back at my time there fondly. As my sister and my former
classmates can tell you, foreign languages are not my strongest point, which of course is a tough spot to be in when you are an EB student. I left EB having spent many years working very hard to make it through the school. At the time, given all that I had to
dedicate to the process of getting through school, I didn’t appreciate what I learned while I was there.

I moved on to King Junior High School for eighth grade and went on to Berkeley High. I have to say, the contrast of EB with King (not that Berkeley doesn’t have better than average public schools) was amazing. EB had clearly placed me ahead of my peers, something I would continue to see in the coming years. At Berkeley High, I was a varsity athlete in both Water Polo and Swimming. The hard-fought foundation of learning that had been laid during my time at EB really began to blossom. I did well academically and as a whole really enjoyed my time
in high school.

Outside of school, my sister and I were lucky enough to have a parent (our father) who worked for an airline. Needless to say, we traveled a lot as a family and in later years on our own. On the road, the true value of the cultural education I earned during my time at EB often shows its true value in the most random places, as in talking in French with Germans during a train ride across western Europe. They mistook me for a fellow European. Although I haven’t kept up my accent enough to pass
for French, I can at least shed the veil of being “American” while interacting with Europeans through speaking French. Or simply the cultural and intellectual curiosity that EB endowed me with leading to conversations with Australians about their life at a cattle station in the outback, where it’s necessary to keep one type of venomous snake in order to ward off another.

It never ceases to amaze me how much my cultural education truly has helped me. The funny thing is, it didn’t truly show its colors until I went away to college. In the fall of 1999, after a great summer spent exploring Europe, I drove across the United States to start school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Now, for those of you who have never been to upstate New York - and I assume that is most of the EB community—it is the polar opposite of the Bay Area and Berkeley’s beautiful culture which EB embodies so well. This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn to love Troy, but moving to a small industrial revolution rust belt town, where winter days easily reach -20o wind chill, is nothing like the Bay Area. It was in Troy, where the culture is closer to Nebraska than New York City, where I truly learned the value of education from EB. I was able to really appreciate the cultural background of my classmates much more than I ever would have been able to, had I not gone to EB. Through the prism of living in Troy and looking back at my life in the Bay Area, I was able to really truly appreciate the cultural melting pot that we in the Bay Area often take for granted. My time at RPI was great. I majored in Information Technology and Finance and continued my athletic pursuits as an NCAA Division III swimmer and an inter-collegiate club water polo player.

When my time at RPI came to an end in May 2003, I felt the pull of multiculturalism and moved to New York City where I joined
a consulting firm and spent a year traveling to Boston—which has a culture very similar to that of Berkeley. I continue to work
as a consultant based in New York City. Someday soon I plan to return to the Bay Area. I have to admit I only have so many cold
winters left in me, but before I do I am hoping to follow the spirit of multiculturalism EB placed in me and take an international
assignment for a year or two.
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