With a mug of boiling hot tea in hand, the sun just peeking out, lighting the tiles of the kitchen floor, she opens her laptop cramming in a lesson of Dutch before school, focusing her attention away from the other languages she had previously studied the night before.
Senior Allie Frankel studies French, Spanish, Mandarin and Dutch, dedicating time every day to improve her language abilities.
“I don’t know if everyone has the same fascination and obsession with language as I do, but I think it makes the work load easier for me specifically because I’m so passionate about it,” Frankel said.
Despite the differences between the four languages, Frankel said that there are actually many similarities between them, such as overlapping vocabulary words.
“Generally I am able to keep all the languages in separate boxes,” Frankel said. “There’s occasionally a word that will screw me up a little bit but usually it’s okay.”
Frankel said that learning language is so important to her because it allows her to communicate with a far wider range of people.
“It feels like it opens up the world a bit,” Frankel said. “I think the human connection is a big part of it too. I’m just happy to be able to connect.”
Spanish teacher at Piedmont High School, Joanne Guillen-Donohoe, who Allie TA’s for, knows exactly what Allie means by the human connection.
“Allie and I speak almost exclusively in Spanish,” Donohoe said. “I think we have a different connection and relationship because she makes an effort to speak my native language.”
Donohoe said that she admires Frankel’s talent and dedication to wanting to be fluent.
“Since I’ve known Allie I have always wondered what she’s going to become,” Donohoe said. “I’m excited to see what she will do and what other languages she will do in the future.”
Frankel’s mom, Leslie Frankel, knows firsthand just how passionate and eager her daughter is about learning languages. Experiences like staying with a host family in Spain would never have happened without her focus on language.
“It’s been very fun to watch,” Leslie said. “I hope she continues it because it is such a great skill to have in life.”
Frankel said that experiences like communicating with her host family has showed her how important language is.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Allie said. “It feels like a secret code or something, opening up doors to people, places, opportunity.”