Which U.S. President was the head cheerleader for his high school?
George W. Bush
Although male cheerleaders are the minority today, there was a time when they were the vast majority. President George W. Bush attended high school at the Phillips Academy, a boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball, and during his senior year was the head cheerleader.
George W. Bush as the head cheerleader at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., in fall 1963, in a role that some classmates now see as a precursor of his political rise as presidential candidate.
He attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, where he continued his cheerleading career, served as the president of his fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Other famous male cheerleaders include Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Michael Douglas, Steve Martin, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Raising School Spirits
George W. found his avenue to prominence on campus by leveraging his enthusiasm and affability. One steppingstone was his role as head cheerleader, which gave him a chance to ham it up in front of crowds.
George initiated a series of humorous pep talks and skits in the weekly school assemblies, but school officials fretted that they simply drew attention to the cheerleaders rather than to the football team. G. Grenville Benedict, the dean of students, urged the cheerleaders to tone it down and perhaps call off the skits.
That drew a swift rebuke from the school newspaper, the Phillipian, which ran a lead editorial in defense of “Bush’s antics.”
In the end, Mr. Benedict grew extremely fond of George. The next head cheerleader, Michael M. Wood, said he was taken aside by Mr. Benedict and told that George had raised Andover’s school spirit to its highest level since Mr. Benedict had joined the school, in 1930.
More than cheerleading, though, George’s claim to fame at Andover was organizing a huge intramural stickball program. Stickball, played with broomsticks and a tennis ball on a field, a variant of the kind played on the streets in New York City, had been an informal pastime at Andover for several years.