Teachers, staff share memories in presidential history from JFK to George W. Bush

The front lawn of the White House, the famous home of most U.S. presidents and future home for Donald Trump.
(Photo used by permission of Creative Commons)
The front lawn of the White House, the famous home of most U.S. presidents and future home for Donald Trump.

Sue Nellis, history

I was going to turn 18 in 1972 (when Richard M. Nixon and George McGovern were running for president), which was the first year that 18-year-olds were able to vote. Sadly, I was going to be exactly four months too young because my birthday was in March. I ended up being able to register to vote early in a local election, so I was one of the first 18-year-olds to ever vote.

Jane Batarseh, Latin

I remember the morning in 1960 that John F. Kennedy was elected president. My whole family is Republican, so it wasn’t a great day. My mother said, “The world as we know it will end” – or something like that.

Jane Bauman, English

I remember exactly where and when I was when (Richard) Nixon resigned. I was on a train in Norway. It was an important day because no U.S. president had ever resigned before.

I also always used to tell my parents on Election Day that I went to the polls and canceled their votes!

Ron Bell, English

In 1960, my parents took me to a Richard Nixon rally. It was a cold night, and I still remember standing in a Fresno grocery store parking lot in my red-checkered flannel shirt. I was 7 at the time. I could see Richard Nixon and his five o’clock shadow from where I was standing. I thought he was pretty ugly, and I definitely had a negative impression of him.

Patricia Jacobsen, math

When I was in college at New York University, I worked in the Office of Humanities. Part of (my job) was to organize guest speakers and take care of them. In the 1994-95 school year, Hillary Clinton came, which was while she was the first lady. I remember being really nervous around her because I wasn’t really politically active at the time, and my entire family is Republican.

All the other speakers were really high maintenance; they wanted to be treated like queens or kings. When we asked Hillary what she needed, all she said she wanted was chips and salsa before she spoke! I then decided to sit in the audience during her speech, and I was captivated. She was really intelligent but not arrogant at all. It was inspiring as a young woman at the time.

Kellie Whited, science

When I was a kid, my parents took me to a rally for (Walter) Mondale and (Geraldine) Ferraro. My parents wanted me to see a woman running for vice president, and it turned out to be an empowering moment .

Brooke Wells, head of high school

I remember the recount in Florida and the challenge by Al Gore. I clearly remember when they called the election for Gore, then at 11 (p.m.) for (George W.) Bush. There was a period of vacancy in the office for a couple of weeks until they determined that Bush had won. Gore was very civil about the whole thing, even after he had lost.

Gabriella Foster, assistant to head of high school

It was the year 2000, which was when my cousin Tate was born. He was born on the exact day of the “hanging chad” incident. (In the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, there was a ballot recount in Florida because chads, fragments of paper from punched holes in the ballots, caused a miscount.) I remember my grandma used to always call him “Chad” because of it!

Tucker Foehl, assistant head of school

It was 1992, when I was in high school. Our whole class was really excited about the election. We watched all the debates together during class and couldn’t wait to vote. It was especially exciting because it was such a close election between three candidates: (George H. W.) Bush, (Bill) Clinton and (Ross) Perot. There was a lot of buzz going around as there was an independent that was actually in the running for the presidency!

By Jack Christian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email