back to top
Politics

Here's What Hillary Clinton Did In Her Senior Year Of High School

According to her school newspaper and yearbook, Hillary Rodham debated Democrats, almost made it onto a quiz show, performed in a Hamlet parody called "Halibut," took a stand against vandalism, and interviewed herself about her high school accomplishments.

Posted on

The high school Hillary Rodham graduated from did not exist until her senior year. Having previously attended Maine East High School, Rodham spent her final year before college at the newly founded Maine South in Park Ridge, Illinois, the Chicago suburb where she lived for almost her whole childhood.

If the reporting of the school newspaper, Southwords, is any indication, the school year of 1964-65 was a busy one for Rodham.

Advertisement

She was a member of the Student Council Constitutional Committee.

Southwords, 9/18/1964

"The group, composed of 10 members, studied both Maine East's and Maine West's constitutions to write Maine South's. Former Maine East graduates attended meetings to offer suggestions for particular clauses.

"The constitution has yet to be approved by the Administration and student body. Student Council hopes the constitution will be in effect by second semester."

The mock election was supposed to be just like a regular election, with registration forms and all. But despite its procedural realism, campaigners weren't allowed to put up posters or hold demonstrations.

Southwords, 10/16/1964

"The election will be conducted just as the regular elections are—students will register and vote for national, state, and local officials. This convention is the first of its kind to be held in the Maine Township High School System. Registration, which will be held October 21 and 22, is designed to give students an understanding of the American political process. To enhance the reality of registration, forms used will resemble ones used in national elections. Students not registered will not be permitted to vote...

"The campaign will be conducted by two partisan organizations. Campaigning will be restricted to buttons (to be worn moderately) and campaign literature. Because the emphasis will be on getting the students to register and vote, neither organization will be allowed to put up posters or hold demonstrations."

There was a debate, however. Rodham argued with Democrats about topics from "centralization in government" to "US policy in Vietnam," to "US nuclear policy."

Southwords, 10/30/1964

“Campaigning reached an emotional pitch at the debate after school on Tuesday when Maine South Democrats and Republicans debated in the auditorium. Democrats Chris Hoyt, Greg Knell, and Pete Schroeder argued with Republicans Andy Dyck, Betsy Johnson, Ray Hilgerman, Hillary Rodham, and Steve Karina over three issues. The issues were centralization in government, US policy in Vietnam, and US nuclear policy.”

Advertisement

With Rodham's help, Goldwater won the mock election. (In the real election, he lost in a landslide.)

Southwords, 11/13/1964

"In the Presidential race, Senator Goldwater received 700 Maine South votes or 55 per cent of them to 523 for President Johnson or 45 per cent. In Maine Township Goldwater's margin was 58 per cent to 42 per cent."

Rodham was chosen as an alternate to appear on "It's Academic," a high school quiz show on NBC.

Southwords, 11/13/1964

"Students were judged on the basis of the rapidity and accuracy of their responses to questions in five categories: science, mathematics, history, English, and general knowledge.

"On this basis, Art, Steve, and Ellen scored highest, Hillary Rodham, Chris Hoyt, Valya Nelson, and Bob Stenson were chosen as alternates."

Rodham was the chairman of the "Organizations" committee on the Student Council.

Southwords, 11/25/1964

"Student Council has completed election of its officers. Newly elected committee chairmen are Hillary Rodham, Organizations; Sue Henkin, Public Relations; Claudia Board, Service Corps; Tim Lindgren, Sportsmanship; and Ed Neff, AFS.

"Organizations committee is busy chartering clubs and discussing the possibility of a convention system for election of Student Council president and secretary in the spring. ”

Advertisement

Rodham was nominated in the Junior Miss pageant, which sought the "ideal high school senior girl."

Southwords, 11/25/1964

"The Junior Miss Pageant is not a beauty contest. The highest ideals and best qualities among Maine Township's teenage girls are recognize. Selection of Junior Misses is based on character, personality, intelligence, extra-curricular activities, talent, and general appearance.

"For the community's 'Ideal high school senior girl' judging will be conducted as follows: mental alertness, 35 per cent; creative and performing arts; 20 per cent; scholastic achievement, 15 per cent; poise and appearance, 15 per cent; and youth fitness, 15 per cent."

The Brotherhood Society was a group of three boys and three girls from each class chosen on the "basis of their friendliness, school-spirit, goodwill, and service." The organization put on a school dance.

Rodham pretended to be a journalist from Time magazine conducting an interview, with herself as the subject.

Southwords, 12/22/1964

“’Excuse me, I’m from Time magazine. I’d like to get an interview from you about your high school career. You’ve such a famous career, and…’

"‘Well, yes, I’m very busy, you know,’ replied Hillary Rodham, prosecuting attorney for Harrington versus Harrington. The case has been going on literally for years. ‘What would you like to know?’”

Advertisement

Much of the interview features Rodham listing her accomplishments, sometimes interrupting the "interviewer" to do so.

Southwords, 12/22/1964

"'That in my senior year so many years ago this month I received the DAR Award for citizenship? Or that I served on student council for three years? Or that I worked for Goldwater, Percy, and other Republican nominees in a mock political convention? Or that I was a National Merit Semi-Finalist?'

"'Well, yes...'"

"'I was also a member of the Cultural Values Committee my junior year. What an experience! We re-evaluated teenagers' ideas in relation to dress, etc. We tried to unite opinions of different factions of the school--and what a difference.'"

In the "interview," she said that her ambition was to "marry a senator and settle down in Georgetown."

"'I see. One last question. What was your ambition in high school?'

"'To marry a senator and settle down in Georgetown.'"

Advertisement

Rodham was vice president of the National Honor Society. According to the paper, the club's projects for the year included acquainting "underclassmen with the requirements and opportunities for membership" in the National Honor Society.

Rodham performed in "Halibut," a parody of Hamlet written by a counselor at Maine South and an AP English teacher at Maine East. She played the role of "narrator."

Southwords, 1/29/1965

"Third period today the senior advanced-placement English class absented themeslves from felicity and saw a performance of Halibut, a parody of Hamlet, by seven AP English students.

"Besides John, the cast included: Sherry Heiden and Hillary Rodahm, narrators; Ellen Press, Ophelia; Lena Salbego, Queen Gertrude; Andy Dyck, King Hamlet and Claudius; and Ray Hilgermann, Polonius."

Here is the paper's account of Halibut's moving soliloquy on the question of whether "to bathe or not to bathe:"

Southwords, 1/29/1965

"A desolate expression in his eyes, John Peavoy, as Halibut, paces back and forth as he ponders the decisive issue of his life. Finally, lips pursed, he halts, outstretches his hand, rolls his eyes up to heaven, and intones:

"'To bathe, or not to bathe, that is the question. Whether 'tis healthier for the body to suffer the stings and pains of Fresh Arrid, or Ban, or to plunge one's arms into a sea of bubbles and remove all those things that flesh is heir to.'

"Halibut sighs reverently: 'Oh! 'tis an immersion devoutly to be wished. To slosh; to steep; to steep, perchance to steam. And then perhaps a rubdown.'"

Rodham was a National Merit Scholarship finalist.

Southwords, 2/26/1965

"As finalists, these students rank in the upper one half of one per cent of all high school seniors and are eligible to win one of the 1600 scholarships offered by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

"On the basis of their scores on the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Tests, these students were previously selected as semi-finalists."

At the end of the year, she won a bunch of awards: the Social Science award, the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship award, and a Good Will award.

Southwords, 6/7/1965

The Social Science award was given to the top student in the Social Science department.

The DAR Good Citizenship award was given for "outstanding leadership and service to the community and school."

The Good Will awards were given to 12 students selected by their peers for demonstrating "the spirit of friendliness and good will characteristic of Maine."

A piece imagining the class of 1965 at its ten-year reunion predicted that Rodham would become a nun named "Sister Fridigidaire."

Southwords, 6/7/1965

"Right in the middle of things are the very Reverend Chris Hoyt and Father Ave Karina, who are debating the merits of the beauties of various nuns. Sister Frigidaire, the former Hillary Rodham, appears to be the most favored at this point."

Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted