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Provo City School District

Timpview High School

Many seniors are asked to reflect on their background and experiences as they prepare for college applications. Here is a sample of what one of our seniors, Adam Ron, wrote about when preparing for college applications. 

“Mixed Goods: A Reflection on My Background and Identity” by Adam Ron

My name is Adam Ron. Adam isn’t a very original name. It’s been around forever: the first man was named Adam, depending on who you ask. But my last name is a bit of a mystery; it doesn’t come from any place, any religion, any ancestors. The story of how the name came to be is the story of the American Dream for foreigners and natives alike. It’s the story of where I come from, who I am, and where I’m going. 

My dad was born Avishai Sa’adia (Avi for short) on a kibbutz just outside Tel Aviv to a Sephardic dad and an Ashkenazi mom. It was 1960s Israel. The country was young. The buildings were bauhaus. The laidback lifestyle of the Mediterranean danced with Middle Eastern patriotism. But opportunity was scant, so an adolescent Avi and his parents moved to New York. And then Miami. His mother was a hotel maid. His father was an unsuccessful restauranteur. Their family struggled. His parents stayed just long enough for Avi to become a US citizen, and after his high school graduation, they went back to Israel, leaving Avi behind. With no hope of attending college, he moved to Dallas to paint apartments with a crew of Costa Rican immigrants. Learning Spanish along the way, he began managing the crew of painters. He added new verticals — roofing, plumbing, drywall — until he had a fully integrated general contracting company, eventually becoming a landowner and developer. Along the way, he met my mom, in an Italian import store in Dallas.

My mom was born Suzanne Sondrup to two Mormon missionaries. She and her three older siblings were raised in 1960s Provo, Utah. The tenets of Mormonism — hard work, frugality, traditional gender roles — were omnipresent…Their world was small, and upward mobility was highly limited, especially for women. So, she left. She moved to Dallas and started working in the very import store where she met my dad. They dated. Then they broke up. She moved to New York City, completed her undergraduate degree at Columbia, and worked in the gem trade in Tanzania. She longed for my dad and eventually called him. They reconciled, moved to Houston, and got married. Together, they came up with their own last name: Ron.

But this isn’t a love story (my parents divorced several years ago), nor is this story about my parents. Rather, it’s the longwinded introduction — and necessary context — to my own story.

I spent my elementary years attending a Jewish school in Houston. I studied the Torah and the Talmud for two hours a day. My school uniform included a tucked-in, collared shirt and a black satin yarmulke. It was sheltered, quiet, and strict. When my parents divorced, my mom and I moved back to her hometown in Utah — the place she was once so eager to leave. Our move was refreshing and cathartic. But the first and second acts of my childhood weren’t so dissimilar. The New Testament replaced the Torah, and the Book of Mormon replaced the Talmud. I found my new hometown to be . . . sheltered, quiet, and strict.

As I write this from Provo, closing the second act to my life, I notice the parallels between my two childhoods and my parents’ childhoods. Despite vastly different ideologies and circumstances, my parents’ paths crossed and overlap with my own. My experiences aren’t necessarily unique to me. But I remain humble and opportunistic for my third act.

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