On a day aglow with memories, President Clinton returned Saturday to his old high school, where 33 years ago he was the golden boy who led the band, impressed the teachers and charmed the girls.
It was a reunion of all former classes of Hot Springs High School, intended to kick off a fund-raising campaign to transform the old school building into the William Jefferson Clinton Cultural Campus, a commercial arts center and Clinton museum. The school graduated its last class in 1990.
The president said the person he missed most was his old principal, the late Johnnie Mae Mackey, a strict disciplinarian. When her students went into the Marine Corps, "it was a step down in discipline and order," Clinton recalled with a laugh.
"Listen to me son, you might make something of yourself," Ms. Mackey was recalled as saying sternly. Clinton, who graduated in 1964 in a class of 363 students, said, "I thought you had to have at least one leg in the grave before they named anything for you. But if it helps raise another nickel, I accept and I thank you. I'm profoundly honored."