Frankfurt American High School 1975

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Two rows of Quonset huts behind the school provided a some extra classroom space. Miss Costello's Latin class was in the one on the far left. Well, they're not true Quonset huts, are they? (Real Quonset huts are made of corrugated tin, like these, but they're half-cylinders; these are actually Butler Buildings; both are "all-metal buildings of the non-combustible type"; thanks to Jim Diehl for pointing this out.) On the right, peeking out from behind the trees and the school building, are the dorms (see map) where kids stayed who lived too far away for daily school buses (like the ones from Oberursel, Gießen, Höchst, Darmstadt, Hanau, and Rhein-Main). Five-day dorm students lived in places like Kassel, Fulda, Bonn. Seven-day students were often children of diplomats in places that didn't have American schools, like Denmark or the Soviet Union. (As of October 2012, you can see where everybody lived in the 1959-60 student directory and the 1960-61 student directory.)

I heard that Miss Costello (Joan Costello), one of my all-time favorite teachers, who (unbeknownst to me at the time) taught history as well as Latin, died in Florida in 2006. She ran her Latin class like Basic Training, marching us around like a drill instructor, but with a sense of humor that not everybody picked up on. I think her most endearing trait was that the students she secretly liked the best were the ones who stood up to her, talked back, and made trouble. They made her smile.

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Frankfurt Photos / Frank da Cruz / fdc@columbia.edu / August 2003 / Most recent update: 17 October 2012