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President Kennedy Pays Impromptu Visit to High School Senior Prom

June 8, 1963 - In Los Angeles last night, President Kennedy turned a big night into the time of their lives for the graduating seniors of Burbank’s John Burroughs High School. Mr. Kennedy earned a cheer of football victory proportions when he appeared at the youngsters’ senior prom in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton — a dance held then and there only because of his personal intervention. The President, who had to worm his way through a crushing throng to reach the ballroom from a $1,000-a-couple Democratic fundraising dinner upstairs, went straight to the microphone as the high school band blared “Hail to the Chief.” The musicians had been rehearsing the anthem since Mr. Kennedy ordered the fundraising fête moved out of the ballroom last month to make room for the $18-a-couple dance, originally scheduled there. “This is a better room than the one upstairs,” the President quipped. Then, surveying the crowd of teenagers, he added: “I guess I should have brought my brother Teddy with me tonight. He’s younger than I.” “Next to being President, or rather than being President, I would rather be a high school senior,” he went on. “All this country is or hopes to be is represented here in this room.” The students were mightily impressed. As one of them, Sandra Hagen, 17, said: “It takes an important man to come up with a reaction like that. They had a $1,000-a-plate dinner, and we had an $18 dinner, but he thought ours was as important as his. I think he’s a good man.”


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