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How They Did in High School


Obama: Great, for a Slacker
Obama attended the elite Punahou prep school in Honolulu from fifth to twelfth grade after he was admitted with the help of his grandfather’s boss, an alum. He wasn't fully devoted to academics in high school, instead spending time at the beach, going to parties, and playing basketball. Obama was on the state-championship team his senior year but rode the pine, and still holds a grudge against his coach for not starting him. Obama played defensive line on Punahou’s football team his freshman year (he was much heavier then than he is now). Though he was well liked and seemingly content, Obama felt confused by his mixed-race heritage. He was a B student (his worst grade on record is a D, received in eighth-grade French) but his professors saw untapped potential in “Barry,” as he was then known. And they were right!

Romney: The School Prankster
Romney was better known for his elaborate high jinks at Cranbrook Academy than for his GPA, like when he staged a full dinner party in the median of a busy intersection, or (with then-girlfriend Ann Davies, and other pals) slid down hills at the local golf course on ice blocks late one night, getting them arrested. He was a male cheerleader on the pep squad, just like Rick Perry. As for academics, one report card from early in his high school career has no As, four Bs (including one B-), and a C. Not failing, but not stellar. "He can do a lot better," wrote his English 3 teacher. He had been averaging As in Elementary Algebra and French 1, but then slacked off. Even his budding artistic talent was squashed because "he is not as industrious or as responsible as he might be." But at least the direction was already trending upward. His professor Harry D. Huey's overall remarks on that same report card were a reassuring: "[Mitt] is a more responsible citizen this year." By senior year, his grades were good enough to earn him a spot in Stanford, and at prom he asked Ann to marry him. (She said no.)


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