The Geeky Old Party: High school yearbook photos reveal Republican candidates with a talent for wrestling, Glee club and tumbling… but who was the star cheerleader?
By Louise Boyle
Last updated at 10:53 PM on 19th January 2012
It has been a campaign riddled with scandal but one looks likely to top the rest – the high school yearbook snaps of the Republican presidential candidates that have come to light.
Square glasses, horrid shirts but hopeful expressions dominate as Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Ron Paul were captured in their teens graduating from their high schools spread across the U.S.
There were also highlights from other GOP bigwigs including an undeniably competitive Sarah Palin playing basketball in her native Alaska.
Thanks to The Atlantic magazine these little gems rose to the surface – and just think, one could be the next Commander- in-Chief.
Mitt Romney, who is currently leading the GOP race, has a rictus grin and slick hairdo in the class of 65, along with an ambitious list of awards and activities including Glee club, cross-country, hockey, pre-med club and church cabinet.
He was also involved in pep club – the school’s cheerleading squad, although his precise role is unknown. Romney’s picture is one of the better offerings – something he may have had a hand in as assistant editor of the yearbook.
Next up is his closest rival, Newt Leroy Gingrich, who added the intriguing quote beneath his picture: ‘Specialisation may produce success, but greatness is acquired only through generalisation.’
He was voted most intellectual by his classmates in Columbus, Georgia and won the Time current events award.
Rick Santorum strikes a serious look for the school photographer – undermined by his wacky Seventies shirt. Carmel Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1976 in Mundelein, Illinois, went for the egalitarian approach and did not announce awards for any students.
Ron Paul was credited as the ‘best all round’ student in his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania class of 53, excelling at tumbling, wrestling track and honor society. His leadership qualities shone early as he was also student council president.
Although she has now bowed out of the presidential candidate race, or her ‘quest’ as she dubbed it in her departing speech, Michele Bachmann’s flair for the dramatic was evident from her early years. She was involved in cheerleading, chorus and drama club at her high school in Anoka, Minnesota, where she graduated in 1976.
Another dropout in the race to 2012, pizza company multimillionaire Herman Cain, was voted both best all-rounder and most likely to succeed in his class of 63 at Samuel Howard Archer High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
He was also a keen participant in the honor society, student council and explorer scouts – a fact which may tickle Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she mocked Mr Cain over foreign policy and his dismissive remarks about the ‘stan’ countries.
Jon Huntsman, who has also stepped down from the Republican bid, left Highland High School, in Salt Lake City, Utah with a less than glowing record (but impressive mullet).
Huntsman played the keyboard in a band so dropped out of high school but later received the high school equivalency exam, the G.E.D.
Although not a participant in the race, Sarah Palin’s high school pictures deserve a mention as a clear indication of the dogged ambition which would come to mark her Republican career in years to come.
The former vice-presidential hopeful graduated from Wasilla High School, Alaska in the class of ’82 – with a bulging extracurricular list of Basketball, Cross Country, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Honor Society.