Jan 20, 200901:39 PMBest Of Editor Picks
Moraga resident recalls President Barack Obama as a high school classmate
Millions attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration today, and many more watched the event worldwide. Moraga resident Leslie Price was watching at home, excited to see history unfold—and happily recalling her experiences at Punahou High School in Oahu, Hawaii, where Obama was a fellow student.
“Not only did I go to high school with him, I sat at his table at the senior prom,” says Price, who graduated from Punahou a year after Obama. Price’s date to the prom was Darrell Gabriel, a basketball teammate who still shoots hoops with Obama when the now-President visits Hawaii. “You know, I can’t remember who Barry’s date was … but we all had a very nice time,” she says.
Price remembers Obama as a friendly and quiet student. “He was your average, quiet guy. He always had a smile on his face. He was very low key, non-controversial. He didn’t have any enemies. We had this building on campus that we called jock hall—he’d hang out there with his basketball team. The basketball team is going to the inauguration.”
Price moved back to California for college and did not keep in touch with Obama, although many of her friends did. It wasn’t until fairly recently that Price learned of Obama’s political ambitions.
“A few years ago, I heard Oprah mention Barack Obama and I thought, ‘That’s funny, I went to high school with Barry Obama.’ ” Price says with a laugh. “If I had been asked, 25 years ago, who from our class would be President, he wouldn’t have even made a short list. He wasn’t in the student council; he wasn’t a public speaker.”
Price, who works at Danville’s Pacific Bay Interiors (which, coincidentally, is located in a building known as the White House) says that her friends who have kept in touch with Obama all say that his skyrocketing political life has not changed his personality one bit.
“The guys that he hangs with when he goes back to Hawaii are just normal guys. And he’s still Barry, the guy we went to high school with,” says Price. “All of us, who went to high school together, we are over the moon.”