Oten a student might not know the impact a teacher or school may have on his or her life until years later, especially a young boy with dyslexia at a time when dyslexia was hardly talked about and few children were tested. Brian Jones, who attended Assets in 1985 and 1996 for his fourth and fifth grades, recently visited Hawaii from Florida and drove by our K-8 campus which was not the school he attended. When he was a student Assets was located at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.
“I lived on Iroquois Point and rode my bicycle to the launch site where a boat ferried me over to Pearl Harbor then a bus dropped us off at our school on base,” said Brian Jones this week by phone. “I literally took a bike, a boat, and a bus to get to school and it was worth it! I could not read until I attended Assets.”
We reached out to Brian after receiving his heartfelt letter of gratitude to thank him for his generous first-time donation of $10,000 given in recognition of his education at Assets. Due to his father’s career as a Navy pilot, Brian and his family moved away from Hawaii. However, in those two years, Brian's world changed because he was taught how to read, write and learn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy studying Aerospace and today is a successful businessman who owns A Christmas Story House in Cleveland, Ohio. Brian's letter was incredibly touching that, with his permission, we wanted to share it with you.
Dear Assets School,
I was recently visiting Hawaii again and stopped by the lower school campus to reminisce about my childhood. That visit inspired the enclosed donation. I also wanted to write a quick note to let you know what Assets meant to me even after nearly 40 years, and how it changed my life. You’re welcome to share this note with whomever.
I attended Assets school in 1985 and 1986 for fourth and fifth grade, back when it was on Naval Station Pearl Harbor. When I was in third grade, my teacher at Our Savior Lutheran School noticed that I had difficulty reading. In fact, I was terrified of it. I simply could not do it. I would memorize words and phrases instead of actually reading as a crutch to muddle through and hope no one would notice. I was in the highest math group, but one of only three students in the lowest reading group. It wasn’t that I wasn’t bright or smart. My brain just worked differently. My teacher, having worked at Assets earlier in her career, recognized this. She recommended my parents take me to Assets for testing where I was subsequently diagnosed with dyslexia.
I attended Assets for the next two years and learned to read and write through methods not used in traditional schools. These two years made all the difference in my life. Besides learning to read and write, I learned that I would always have to work harder than everyone else. So that is what I did. I turned a disability into an asset (pun intended). From that point on I have worked harder than everyone else and not just at English but everything else too.
Learning to read and write and the drive it developed in me changed my life forever. I went on to be the valedictorian of my high school class and attended the United States Naval Academy graduating with a degree in aerospace. After serving six years in the Navy, I went on to found my own business and become wildly successful. I can trace all this back to the two pivotal years I spent at Assets School.
Thank you for all that you did for me and all that you are currently doing. It makes a huge difference and enormous impact on the lives of so many.
Our thanks to Brian for sharing how Assets changed his life and for his meaningful donation that will change our students' lives.