CLTA Remembers

Sylvia Jones

Sylvia was a CLTA member, conference coordinator, president, and treasured colleague and friend, as well as CWLP’s Program Coordinator for many years. Sylvia was committed to her profession, community, family and friends and fought fiercely for the things she believed in. She was committed to justice for all, to language learning for all students, not just the gifted, and to sharing her wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom with her colleagues. She also was committed to life – with a joie de vivre that enriched the lives of all who were privileged to share in her life. Her unwavering friendships will outlast her life. CLTA and all of us have been enriched because of Sylvia’s time on this earth.

Sylvia Jones December 09, 1934 – May 08, 2014 It is with heavy hearts that CLTA/CWLP announce the loss of Sylvia Jones. Sylvia was a CLTA member, conference coordinator, president, and treasured colleague and friend, as well as CWLP’s Program Coordinator for many years. Sylvia was committed to her profession, community, family and friends and fought fiercely for the things she believed in. She was committed to justice for all, to language learning for all students, not just the gifted, and to sharing her wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom with her colleagues. She also was committed to life – with a joie de vivre that enriched the lives of all who were privileged to share in her life. Her unwavering friendships will outlast her life, as we memorialize and celebrate her life in an online memorial and celebration. Vernon, Sylvia’s husband, and our CLTA/CWLP family, invite you to celebrate Sylvia’s life and legacy and expressing your words of sympathy to Vernon and her son, Norman at: http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/sylviajones/Homepage.aspx.

In an anonymous prayer on visiting Jewish graves, we are told that: “When we are weary and in need of strength … When we have joys we yearn to share … When we have decisions that are difficult to make … When we have achievements that are based on theirs, We remember them. For as long as we live, they too shall live, For they are a part of us as we remember them.” May Sylvia rest in peace for her light will forever radiate in the hearts of her devoted friends and colleagues in the CLTa/CWLP family.

This is the text of the dedication to Sylvia that appeared in the Conference Program. The tribute was written by our former Executive Director, Lorraine D’Ambruoso:

This conference is dedicate to Sylvia Jones Former CLTA President and Longtime CLTA Conference Coordinator Sylvia Jones was a product of the segregated South. That had an effect on her that was to govern everything she did for the rest of her life. She was raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Her father was a university professor who impressed the importance of education on her and her sisters. She went on to study French and German at the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL. While at the university, Sylvia indulged in another of her loves – music, as a soprano involved in the University’s Opera Workshop, singing roles such as Cho-ho San in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. In 1959, Sylvia left the university to move to Poughkeepsie, NY, where she married the love of her life, Vernon Jones. It was while living in Poughkeepsie that their children Norman and Kimberly were born. During this time, Sylvia taught French for one year at Vassar College. The family eventually moved to Pasadena, CA, where Sylvia taught German and served as the Pasadena School District’s Foreign Language Coordinator. In the late 1980’s, Sylvia continued with the Pasadena District half-time, and joined the California Foreign Language Project (CFLP) at Stanford University. In Pasadena, Sylvia once again drew on her love of and training in classical music and served as one of the several soprano soloists at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles for twenty-two years. One of her greatest joys was to sing at special events such as weddings for her friends. In 1984, tragedy struck the family with the loss of their beloved daughter Kimberly. This unfortunate even changed Sylvia’s life and ultimately led to her early retirement and change in direction of her career. On retiring from the Pasadena school system in 1990, Sylvia assumed full time responsibilities with the CFLP and the California Language Teachers’ Association (CLTA) as an advocate for training language teachers. She participated in organizing seminars, workshops, and annual CLTA/CFLP conferences. Her interests in travel, cooking and music were incorporated into her work with the language training organizations. Sylvia’s life was devoted to the idea that education was a right and a necessity for each and every student. She was one of the first to work on fostering equity for all in our educational system. She was an inspiration and a mentor to teachers, young and old. For that reason, her husband, Vernon has established a fellowship in Sylvia’s memory to support teachers’ participation at Summer Seminar. Sylvia lived life to the fullest. She left us far too soon, but her spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved her. It is because of our love and respect for Sylvia that CLTA dedicates this year’s conference to her memory.

CLTA encourages everyone to contribute to Sylvia Jones Legacy Fund to help mid-career teachers participate in the Summer Seminar.
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