Mark spoke fluent Spanish. He always credited his incredible high school Spanish teachers for that, but didn’t give himself enough credit for how good his Spanish really was, especially given that he didn’t take more than a class beyond high school and he spoke it as well as me, a Spanish teacher who spent 6 months living in Spain. He insisted I knew more Spanish than he did. Maybe I did, but his confidence about his abilities in most areas of his life far exceeded almost anyone I have ever known. I always admired him for that. The way he could just speak his mind and never seem to worry what others thought, the way he flourished most in high pressure situations, and the way he excelled at just about anything he put his mind to… Mark’s Spanish connected him to parents and students alike when he taught Social Studies at Bruce Guadalupe Middle School. It is an English-speaking school but Mark would often converse with students and parents in Spanish, demonstrating to them that where they came from and who they were outside of school really mattered to him. Mark’s Spanish connected him to me, for obvious reasons…and one of the things I will miss most is how Mark liked to have “private” conversations in Spanish, thinking no one else knew what we were saying. Sometimes they did. Oops.