Ever since 1965, when Hillary Rodham graduated from a brand-new high school in suburban Park Ridge, Illinois, the school’s first yearbook has provided advance clues about the First Lady. For anyone who scanned the book’s eight appealing photos documenting her trail of tireless activities, it should be no surprise she’s now a White House public affairs activist in the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt.
After three years in Park Ridge’s “Maine Township East High,” Hillary was redistricted into newly-built Maine South High, for her 1964-65 senior year. During that year her combination of socially-conscious youth activities at First United Methodist Church, earning A’s in a high quality academic program, and the plethora of extra-curricular activities reported here must have produced a weekly schedule as tight as a political campaigner’s. But in the fall of 1964 she also found time to go door-to-door for Barry Goldwater—the last Republican Presidential contender she was to support (followed in 1968 first by Eugene McCarthy and then by Hubert Humphrey).
Turning the pages of the handsome black-and-gold-bound yearbook, entitled Eyrie (meaning the lofty dwelling of a large bird), you find a blonde, confidently smiling Hillary on numerous pages.
On page 24 the headline reads: “Student Council Committee Chairmen — Student Council had several major committees: Organizations, headed by Hillary Rodham. . . chartered clubs and organized a system for electing Student Council officers. . .” (One of Hillary’s first four biographies reports that she lost an election for the Student Council presidency before being elected chair of the organizations committee.)
Page 54: “National Honor Society Seniors Elected (while still juniors, in 1964). . . Juniors had to be in the top five per cent of their class with no grade lower than B. . .Students are chosen by the faculty and Mrs. Farmer, sponsor, on the basis of service and leadership.” (Photo not shown.)
Page 55: “Brotherhood Society. . . Maine South’s Brotherhood Society was composed of 24 students: three boys and three girls from each class. Members were chosen by their respective classes on the basis of their friendliness, school spirit, goodwill, and service. In April the society gave an all-school dance in order to sponsor speakers for future brotherhood assemblies.” (Photo not shown.)
Ironically, Maine South had but one Black student, one of Hillary’s classmates recalls. The United Methodist youth minister, Rev. Don Jones, sought to widen his flock’s horizons through social service projects and by taking youth group members into Chicago for discussions with Black and Hispanic youth, and for events like an Orchestra Hall lecture by Martin Luther King. There Hillary and others met Dr. King, about the same time Arkansas high school student Bill Clinton was meeting John F. Kennedy on the White House lawn.
Page 56: “National Merit Finalists. . . Eleven seniors set a fine precedent for Maine South by being selected as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. These students ranked in the upper one-half of one per cent of all high school seniors on tests taken in March of 1964. As finalists, they are eligible for one of the 1600 scholarships offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.” (Hillary applied to Wellesley and Smith colleges, partly due to encouragement by two young graduates who were teaching that year at Maine South. She was accepted by both schools, and chose Wellesley.)
Page 58: “It’s Academic. . . Maine South’s television debut on ‘It’s Academic’ was quite a success. Ellen Press, Art Curtis, and Steve Karina defeated students from Antioch and Aurora Madonna in the first round, and hoped to continue their success in the following contests.” (On another occasion Hillary and five classmates were on television discussing “teenage values.”)
Page 93: “Senior Leaders. . . Sophomore boys and girls who show exceptional ability in physical education may apply for the junior leader program. . . The girls are proficient in tennis, golf, modern dance, field hockey, track and field, baseball, badminton, volleyball, swimming, and gymnastics. Leadership and the ability to get along with others are also important factors in the selection of trainees. . . Senior leaders, who had completed the training phase of the program in their junior year, were assigned to one class where they served as assistants to the physical education teachers. Their skills and training provided invaluable aid to both the students and the busy gym teacher.” (Photo not shown.)
Page 126: “Student Council Representatives.” (Hillary was one of 23 pictured. The graduating class had some 575 members.)
Page 152: “Class of 1965. . . Hillary Rodham: Class Council: 1, 2, 3, Vice-President, 3; Class Newspaper: 2; Girls’ Athletic Association: 1; Gym Leader: 3, 4; National Honor Society: 3, 4; Pep Club: 1, 2, 3; Science Award: 2; Speech Activities and Debate: 2; Spring Musical: 2; Student Council: 2, 3, 4; Cultural Values Committee: 3; Organizations Committee: 2, 3, 4, Chairman, 3, 4; Variety Show: 2.” (Numbers refer to first through fourth years of high school.)
Written by Dr. Doug Kelly and published in the August, 1994, issue of the Hillary Clinton Quarterly.