I Don’t Care What The Women Of The Petraeus Scandal Were Like In High School
3:30 pm, November 14th | by Laura Donovan
Like, oh my God guys: did you know that “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus” author Paula Broadwell was voted Homecoming Queen in high school? I bet you also heard that Jill Kelley, one of many people tangled up in this absurd soap opera, made quite an impression on her peers as a teenager. Newsflash: they’re adults today, and there’s no reason for news outlets everywhere and commenters to be spending so much time talking about how the women carried themselves as minors.
Ever since news broke late last week of former CIA director David Petraeus’s affair with Broadwell, who’d penned a biography about him and reportedly sent threatening emails to his buddy Kelley, the media has obsessed over Broadwell and Kelley’s back stories, emphasizing the fact that Broadwell was a big shot at Century High School. BuzzFeed describes her teenage persona as such:
She’s always been an alpha dog. At Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, Paula Kranz was a valedictorian, homecoming queen, and student council president who played in the orchestra and on the basketball team. She graduated in 1991 and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point; she’s pictured as a runner in the 1992 yearbook with the caption, “Paula Kranz strides past the opposition and looks for her next victim.”
Broadwell “got her claws into him,” an anonymous military source said. She was an event crasher and “shameless self-promotion prom queen.” She was “hardly shy” about showing off her access to Petraeus. Her fairly standard business-casual attire was described as “usually tight shirts and pants.” David Petraeus had let down his guard, and this beautiful “lifelong high achiever” saw her big chance.
The New York Daily News and other sources went on to report that Broadwell was voted “most likely to be remembered” for the senior superlative roundup. So she was popular and big on extra-curricular activities growing up, but it makes no sense to highlight all that now, especially given her countless post-high school accomplishments. She has since obtained degrees from West Point and Harvard University, been a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, co-written a book, done national security analysis, and appeared in magazines and panels for her work, so it’s bizarre that news outlets would feel the need to put together extensive reports on what 40-year-old Broadwell was like at 17, or articles on the Kelley girls’ alleged diva-like behavior as teens.
There’s plenty to discuss about present day, especially with this whole debacle, which gets weirder every second, so stop looking to the past to try to explain what’s going on right now. Broadwell is more than twenty years out of high school and has achieved more in her time away than some do in a lifetime, and pulling the “she was Homecoming Queen, she must be crazy” card is beyond lazy and irrelevant. She and Kelley may have been the type of girl that many love to hate back then, but those discussing their high school lives now are the ones who need to grow up.