Mara Xiong ’20

Q: How did you know Ms. Frank?


A: I’m a current Berkeley alumna class of 2020, and I met Ms. Frank on my first day [of] freshman year because I had her as my Latin teacher. She had kind of already knew me because she had talked with my middle school Latin teacher, Mr. D, and I had already kind of known who she was just from hearing about her as well from Mr. D. I kind of found her a little intimidating, but we actually became really close, especially because I took Latin for all four years of high school, and then I did [Latin] club as well.


Q: Do you have a favorite memory from Latin Forum?


A: There’s a lot. My very first Latin Forum with [Ms. Frank], I think I stole blankets when we were gathering in her room and I wrapped them around myself, and she kind of freaked, and she doused them with Lysol Extreme, and then sprayed the air like multiple, multiple times.


Q: How would you characterize Ms. Frank?


A: Classes with her were never boring. Yeah, [no matter] how boring the subject was, the class would never be boring. 


Q: What was your favorite Latin class that you’ve taken?


A: I don’t really have a specific year or a specific class I like the most. I honestly [think]–after I got past level two–the classes became more interesting, because we went on from grammar and moved on to literature. So it was more interesting to analyze and listen to stories. I don’t have a specific favorite class but [maybe] my freshman, sophomore and junior year class[es], just because I was with the same people for so long, including Middle School, then, we all kind of knew one another. But I can’t really think of a class that was like my favorite. 


Q: Did you have a favorite aspect about Latin club?


A: Just what I like about Ms. Frank was she never judged you if you couldn’t always put Latin club as your first priority, and she tried to make the environment as inclusive as possible. […] At Berkeley everyone does so much that it’s sometimes hard to juggle all of them. And it’s my own personal experience that there’s some teachers who aren’t always as understanding if you can’t do this, or if you can’t do that. But Ms. Frank never wanted us to feel pressured to put Latin club first. And, ironically, I think that’s what made people put Latin club first [because] they knew how great the environment was and how fun the club was. And then, that ended up being the reason why, even though she told us you never have to make my club like your top priority. 


Q: Is there anything else that you want to mention about Ms. Frank or the Latin program at Berkeley?


A: I just gotta say the Latin program at Berkeley has always been good, and it still is, but it’s really not the same without Ms. Frank, that’s all I gotta say,


Q: How did Ms. Frank have an impact on your life?


A: [During] my second semester of senior year, it was kind of hard for me, just because there were a lot of things going on in my personal life that weren’t quite the best. I was, first of all, applying to college, which is never easy for anyone, […] but I didn’t always get along with my family during that period. There was one specific day; I got, I think, four college rejections in a row. And I got into a really awful screaming match with my parents. I texted Ms. Frank, and she told me she was proud of me, no matter what, no matter where I went to college. And she told me she would always support anything I did, and I think looking back on it now, it’s sad because we used to always joke like: “when you go off to college, take this Latin class; you’re gonna have trouble with this; you’ll have to come [here] when you come back; you [going to] do this and that. Now it’s just not really going to happen anymore.