WHO IS RYAN WASON?
• Chorus teacher at Lambert High School
• Has also taught technical theater, acting, advanced drama, musical theater, music theory, AP music theory and orchestra at Lambert
• His wife has a twin brother and six other sets of twins in her family
ON THEIR JOBS
“We’re excited because we’re both getting the opportunity to thrive in positions we’ve wanted to do for a long time. I knew in high school I wanted to be a choral music educator, and you knew,” he said to Ross, “for a long time you wanted to be a teacher, and for you to transition into administration has been a goal of yours.”
ON BEING A TWIN
“My first week down here, I was in the center of Cumming getting some paperwork for the county office. There was a woman who stopped at a traffic light, and she rolls down her window and goes, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m great, I think you meant to talk to my brother.’ And she says, ‘Oh.’ And the window goes up.”
ON BEING BORN SECOND
“Let’s just remember that I’m version 2.0 … the upgrade.”
WHO IS ROSS WASON?
• Assistant principal at Piney Grove Middle School
• Taught U.S history, world history, world geography and AP human geography at South Forsyth High School before moving to Lambert when the school opened to teach AP human geography
• Was the first non-music major to be the student conductor of the men’s glee club at Miami University in Ohio
ON BEING A TWIN
“People see twins as a novelty and it’s interesting and it’s different and it’s weird. Like, twin kids are cool, but like adult twins are weird. So when you see twins out in the community that are grown adults you’re like that’s off-putting sometimes.”
ON HOW OTHER PEOPLE REACT TO TWINS
“You try not to embarrass somebody because they think they’re legitimately talking to this person they know, but they’re not really.”
ON OTHER TWINS
Ryan and Ross grew up in Aurora, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland that is next to the city of Twinsburg. Twinsburg holds an annual Twins Day festival, and they went when they were kids. “I remember being freaked out there were so many twins.”
"THAT TIME I INVADED HIS CAMPUS"
Ross was the student conductor of the Miami University men’s glee club – the first nonmusic major to do so in the club’s 100-year history.
Ryan: “I had been to a number of his concerts and gotten to know his conductor, being a student of choral music education, and one time I was like … can we have some fun with this twin thing?”
As Ross was walking off the risers, Ryan walked onto the stage.
Ross: “And none of the guys in club knew it. They had no idea. They saw me walking out on the stage as I’m coming down out of the singing group and everybody is just like, what? We kind of turned to each other, turned to the audience and turned to each other, and then we just shook hands and left.”
Ryan: “No, we didn’t shake hands. We played rock paper scissors.”
Ross: “That’s right. Luckily, I won.”
Ryan: “Really luckily you won because I didn’t know the song.”
Ross: “Ah, it was great.”
Ryan and Ross Wason have more in common than both being teachers in Forsyth County public schools. They have more in common than both having taught at Lambert High School at the same time. They even have more in common than being brothers. The twins have spent their lives both together and apart, developing similarities, differences and a knack for reading each other’s minds. Kind of.
They both have a beard and glasses, styled the same. Both are 36 years old, have two daughters and wear their Forsyth County Schools ID badge clipped to the same school polo. One has a longhorn on the top left corner. The other, a grizzly bear.
They’re the same, but they’re different. It’s a back and forth that Ross and Ryan Wason have experienced their whole lives – well, except for that first four minutes when Ross was the only son in the family. Five minutes, if you ask Ross, “for rounding errors.”
The Wason brothers are more than that. You can tell who’s who, especially when they’re standing next to each other, but they look like more than just brothers.
“We’ve done things like getting our hair cut within a day of each other without having talked about it,” said Ross as he sits next to his twin in a teacher lounge at Lambert High School. He sits slightly more laid back in his chair than Ryan, mostly when he laughs at a jibe his brother makes or when he regales and anecdote about their past. Both have stories ready to tell, as if they’re both well-accustomed to talking about the fact that they’re twins. “We both took up golf pretty much around the same time, and when we went out and got our initial sets of clubs, we bought the same golf bag, just different colors. We both bought the exact same model of putter like within a month of each other.”
They didn’t share any stories about one breaking their arm and the other feeling it, but they did say people ask them if they can read each other’s minds.
“No,” Ross said, “but kind of.”
The similarities come with their share of positive and negative, like a constant ebb and flow of them trying to step closer together or individualize themselves.
Like in fourth grade when they tried to switch classes. “We were in fourth grade, so obviously we didn’t plan it very well,” Ross said. “Like I didn’t know where his seat was in class. I didn’t know his locker combination. And the kids in class were like go back to your class?”
They also struggled with creating their own identity as they grew up.
“Like we would try out for shows and for the same parts, and Ryan would get it because he was – air quotes – better than me. But I would struggle with that sometimes. I would look at it and say, ‘He’s the exact same thing as me.’ I would try to use that to my advantage. But then other times when I tried to be more of an individual, people would constantly try to associate him with me. And that’s really hard because I’m not him."
They actually spent a lot of time growing up near each other but separately, like parallels that never quite touch but also never veer off.
“I stuck a lot with chorus and theater and musical theater in high school. He branched out and did more band and a couple more sports opportunities,” Ryan said. “We had a couple of the same friends, but we also had friends that were different. One of my favorite recollections from our first semester of college is we spent so much time trying to be different, when we came back home for our first break, we looked exactly the same. Same hair, same face.”
Their worlds morphed into each other again in 2011 when Ryan got a job at Lambert as the choral teacher to help grow the program after the school opened with just one teacher for band and chorus. They worked at Lambert together, but separately – Ross taught AP human geography before becoming an assistant principal at Piney Grove Middle.
In all their time together and apart, they have come to terms with the idea that someone looks almost exactly like them but that they are their own person.
"To see the dichotomy between us is intriguing," Ryan said. "We both sing, we both have done theater in the past, we both play sports poorly. We both know how to laugh and, as you've seen here, be self-deprecating. I really admire how smart he is. And I know I can't do the job he does."