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Obama - Primary Education

Obama - Primary Education

President Obama attended several different primary schools when he was younger. He attended Santo Fransiskus Asisi Catholic School for 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd grade; an Indonesian-language government-run Besuki School for part of 3rd grade and for 4th grade; and Punahou School starting in 5th grade.


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Mee Young Jeong

Mee Young Jeong

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During the presidential campaign, Obama's team had to fight back against false reports that he attended a hard-line Muslim boarding school while in Jakarta.
His father was raised a Muslim, but abandoned his faith before he met Dunham. His stepfather was a secular Muslim who was rarely, if ever, seen in the neighborhood prayer house, according to locals.
Obama's first school in Jakarta was a Catholic one a short walk from his home that had been built just two years earlier by a priest from the Netherlands, the country's former colonial rulers.

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Mr. Obama’s grandparents enrolled him in the Punahou School, founded in 1841 by Congregational missionaries. It is among the largest private schools in the country.
Punahou, with its rolling green lawns, imposing lava rock buildings and chapel in the center of a lily pond, was not an insignificant choice.

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Teachers, students and parents at Punahou, the elite school that Obama attended for eight years on scholarship, don't quite know what to make of the Japanese tour buses that have begun to stop at their 76-acre campus; Obama's East Asian fans routinely photograph the banyan tree he likely climbed during fifth-grade recesses and surely speculate on which apartment he lived in with his grandparents on Wilder Street across from the school.

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In 2008, the Obama campaign produced a certification of live birth that reports his birthplace as Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended kindergarten there before moving to Jakarta, Indonesia with his stepfather at age six. Katherine Nakamoto, Obama’s kindergarten teacher, described the then-five-year old to the Maui News in 2009: “He was a cute, likable, heavy build-child. I could visualize Barry smiling, dressed in his long-sleeved, white shirt tucked into his brown Bermuda shorts, and wearing laced shoes."

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The truth, they say, is this: While Obama went to Besuki, a mostly Muslim school, for less than a year, he spent most of his four years in Indonesia studying at Santo Fransiskus Asisi, a Roman Catholic school run at the time by a stern Dutch priest. Classes began and ended each day with Christian prayers.
That Obama went to a Catholic elementary school for a time while living in Jakarta from 1967 to 1971 has long been known.

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Some on the right suggested during Mr. Obama's presidential campaign that he had attended a radical madrassa while in Indonesia. Former students at the Menteng school scoffed at that characterization. While many of the students at the school are Muslim, it draws the children of the elite in Indonesia. The school did not even have a prayer room when Mr. Obama attended; a mosque was built on the grounds in 2002.

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Documents viewed by the AP showed that students attending the Fransiskus Assisis Catholic school were registered under one of five different religions: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant. Obama, then known as Barry, attended the school from 1st through 3rd grade as student 203. He later enrolled in Public Elementary School Menteng No. 1, a school incorrectly described by the Washington Times Insight magazine and Fox News as an Islamic madrassa.

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The school — Santo Fransiskus Asisi, a Roman Catholic school that had been founded just in 1967 — is still located a couple of blocks away. When the 6-year-old Barry entered the school, there were only three grades with a total of 150 students. Now, about 1,300 students from kindergarten through high school study there, said the principal, Yustina Amirah. Mr. Obama has spoken about growing up here and hearing the Muslim call to prayer, but Ms. Amirah said that since the school’s founding, everyone had hewed to the institution’s official religion.

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In late 1970, Obama's family moved to another neighborhood, and Obama enrolled in Public Elementary School Menteng No. 1, the school depicted by several news outlets as an Islamic madrassa, or boarding school. The school, founded in 1934 as a Dutch school, once catered only to Dutch children and a few elite Indonesians. In 1962 the Dutch handed the school over to the Indonesian government. At the time, the predominantly Muslim public school was considered one of the best in Jakarta.

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Obama has noted in his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school while living in Indonesia from age 6 to 10.

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Source: CNN