John F. Kennedy’s Harvard application

Photo portrait of John F. Kennedy, President o...
Image via Wikipedia

What I like about the internet revolution is the accessibility that students have to some wonderful source material. As a follower of Scribd on Facebook I learnt about a recent addition to their extensive materials. The Kennedy family had allowed John F. Kennedy’s Harvard application of 1935 to be uploaded for free public perusal.

I went through these papers and found some really fascinating material. The future President was not good at Physics or French. He seemed to excel in the subjects like History that really interested him. He was, according to his father someone who would only work at subjects that interested him.

It reminded me so much of so many boys that I have taught. By all accounts JFK was a bit of a rebel when he was young and found it difficult to shine in the shadow of his eldest brother Joseph. Joe was very much the A student, football star and the chosen one to ascend to great things. In this period of his life JFK was the second born who was considered the shadow to his brother’s powerful presence.

There is so much that a student can learn from this material. The thing I did wonder about was where Kennedy would stand in today’s test-centred education systems. As a student he would be struggling in many respects according to this evidence… as a politician would he feel that tests and exams should dominate the educational agenda? We will never really know… but I do feel that these materials should be shown to as many students as possible and they should be allowed to get from them whatever they can..as they see it.

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