The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Riley Frank: Meet the singing actress who broke out of her shell

Senior+Riley+Frank+portrayed+Morticia+Addams+during+The+Addams+Family+-+MTHSs+spring+musical.
©HAWKEYE image credit: Efrata Solomon
Senior Riley Frank portrayed Morticia Addams during ‘The Addams Family’ – MTHS’s spring musical.

Ever since she was a young child, senior Riley Frank has enjoyed performing. Music has always been a central part of her, and it has only developed as she has gotten older.
“Everything in my life is improved by music, its a huge part of me and my relationships, and is truly one of the most beautiful things in life.” she said.
Frank first starred in theater productions in kindergarten and continued to do so all through elementary school and middle school. At Edmonds Heights K-12, she made many dear friends through the school’s theater productions and thoroughly enjoyed her time there.
“It’s very special in a nostalgic way, where I still go and see their productions and I went to their graduation, and they’re all dear friends of mine,” she said.
Frank had always longed to go to public school and eventually did so in 1st grade when she attended Spruce Elementary for a year. Even though she had a lovely time, Frank decided to return to Edmonds Heights in second grade, as she missed her friends. Even to this day, she still considers the friends she made at Edmonds Heights to be dear friends of hers.
After middle school, she began to attend Mountlake Terrace High School as a part-time student. And in 10th grade, she was elated to finally be a part-time student at MTHS, but she, unfortunately, began during the pandemic and struggled with the isolation and her mental health. Frank’s mental health began to rapidly deteriorate throughout quarantine.
The lack of socialization with her classmates and teachers was especially hard for Frank, as she would continuously sleep through her classes. She found it difficult to learn from her classes and stay motivated through remote learning. Frank’s siblings provided some much-needed social stimulation, and she is grateful for her bond with them.
“Even though quarantine was hard, I’m really close with my siblings so I was able to socialize with them… I’m close with all of them in different ways… I’m really grateful for my relationship with my siblings,” she said.
Frank’s junior year was a transitional period, as she was still struggling with her mental health. It was especially nerve-wracking to make friends in her headspace at the time. Even though that year was riddled with pain, Frank still considers that time in her life to be crucial in how the rest of high school turned out.
“That just really messed me up a lot, but it’s definitely been something that I’ve grown and learned from. And so I’ve tried to look at it with that lens,” she said.
In her senior year of high school, Frank began to grow and develop in many ways. Frank opened herself up to new experiences and began to take part in the performing arts here at Terrace. Frank had many friends in jazz and she admired their passion for it, leading her to fall in love with the art form. When jazz vocalist auditions opened up, Frank took the chance and auditioned, and was elated when she got the part.
“I really enjoy singing jazz because there’s a lot of liberty in singing it. It just flows,” she said.
At Terrace’s Swing Night in November of 2022, Frank sang “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “Fly Me To The Moon”. The night was a rousing success.
When she first got the part as a jazz vocalist, it was Frank’s first time singing jazz. Frank particularly enjoys slow, romantic jazz pieces and ballads.
“I’m very self-taught, as far as jazz vocals go… but I think it’s just more natural for me,” she said.
In June of her senior year, Frank starred in her first theater production at Terrace as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. The Addams Family was Frank’s first theater production since before the pandemic, and she was fairly unfamiliar with the theater scene at MTHS.
“Some musicals I liked to do were ‘Legally Blonde,’ where I had a big role… I didn’t really know much about the Terrace musicals, but I watched their ‘Legally Blonde’ at the end of my junior year and was like ‘Okay, I want to do this,’” she said.
Frank enjoyed playing Morticia Addams, and she also enjoyed bonding with her fellow cast members.
“She’s such a cool character, because she’s so poised and- like the queen of the family… she has this song, “Death Is Just Around The Corner”, which is a happy song for her, and she’s enraged before that and this is her freedom… and I love how crazy she is, and how crazy every character in that show is,” she said.
Frank and her co-star Jack Williams, who plays Gomez Addams, performed a salsa piece in the song “Tango De Amor”. Both Frank and Williams greatly enjoyed being able to fully immerse themselves into their characters, and they both had a great time dancing.
“My boyfriend’s family is Hispanic, and they love to salsa, so I found that also cool because I’ve learned some salsa with them.” Frank said.
At MTHS, Frank loves her teachers and classes, especially Stephen Merlino’s English 12 class. Frank has appreciated Merlino placing physical examples when she needs them, and his understanding of Frank’s ADHD and how it affects her learning.
“I think he just really understands what helps me learn… I’ve been the most successful in this english class than any other I’ve experienced. Because even though I enjoy english, I can never finish a book. In this class, I was able to finish most of the books, which is a huge deal for me.” she said.
During her Junior year, Frank took part in Sno-Isle’s cosmetology program and found that she deeply enjoyed cutting and styling hair. She began to cut hair in quarantine and practiced on her family members and even on herself. After high school, Frank plans on going to Evergreen Beauty College in Shoreline to get her Barber’s license.
“I really enjoy building up other people’s confidence, and so I knew I wanted to pursue a career like that where I would get to keep myself social.” .
Frank hopes to do jazz gigs and community theater in the future, and plans to professionally record her own original music this summer. Frank plans to keep music a part of her life for the foreseeable future.
“I wrote a song that night, and then the next day I recorded it and I just posted it, and so it was definitely just a very quick thing that I did. But I think that’s the beauty of songwriting, is it just flows, I just play the music and the lyrics just come to me and I just start singing them.”

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About the Contributors
Virginia Alsept-Beaty
Virginia Alsept-Beaty, Hawkeye Staff
Virginia Alsept-Beaty joined HSM because she has always had a passion for writing and wanted to improve upon her skills using journalism. Virginia nowadays enjoys writing news articles for The Hawkeye and the occasional lifestyle article. She also enjoys drawing and writing short stories in her free time, as well as Studio Ghibli marathons with friends. Virginia plans to attend Western Washington University in the fall and study creative writing.
Efrata Solomon
Efrata Solomon, Photo Editor
Photo Editor Efrata Solomon is a junior at MTHS and in her second year of journalism. She joined journalism in order to engage more with school activities and find a community of like-minded people, as well as learn about newspaper production. Outside of journalism, Efrata hopes to pursue a career in forensic biotechnology to exonerate those wrongfully convicted. She also participates in TSA, HOSA, Girls Who Code, orchestra and NHS, and her hobbies include completing puzzles, reading, hiking, going to local concerts, thrifting, and spending her money on overpriced boba.
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