Here’s The Student Newspaper Article About The Trip To Mexico That Changed Jeb Bush’s Life

“Although I did not learn quite as much Spanish as I could have…I learned a lot about the Mexican people and their way of life.”

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

When Jeb Bush was a 17-year-old high school senior, he famously went to Mexico for a class called “Man and Society.”

It was an experimental course, meant to give students a practical education, as well as an academic one, teacher Thomas Lyons said at the time. It was also designed to remove a group of students, accustomed to the privileges of life at plush prep school Phillips Academy Andover, from their usual surroundings.

The winter months he spent in Mexico made an enormous impression on the teenage Bush. “My life really began in earnest when I was 17 years old in León, Mexico,” Bush said earlier this month, according to a Politico story about the trip. It was then, for instance, that he met his wife, Columba.

When the students got back, the Andover student newspaper, The Phillipian, published a story on the trip. Though it doesn't mention Columba, it describes the charitable projects the students participated in, from building a schoolhouse, to working with an archaeologist, to teaching English at an orphanage.

Jeb was part of the schoolhouse project. In summarizing the trip, he mentions Bernardo, a Mexican man, who, as a Bush spokesman told Politico, prevented the team of prep schoolers from building the schoolhouse lopsided. (That part also isn't in the Phillipian article.)

“I went to Mexico hoping to learn Spanish and study the culture there,” Bush told the student paper. “Although I did not learn quite as much Spanish as I could have because of the group's tendency to speak English with each other, I learned a lot about the Mexican people and their way of life. I was impressed very much by the sentiments of one Mexican named Bernardo, who worked on the schoolhouse project. At the final fiesta held before our group left Mexico, Bernardo broke out crying to demonstrate the deep deep feelings and admiration he held for our group of Americans. Apparently the people were quite impressed with the group and were willing to show their feelings even though it is very embarrassing for a grown Mexican to start crying in public.”

The article also features a number of apparently well-meaning, but sweeping generalizations from Bush's peers, coupled with criticism of the country and school they'd come from.

Student Heath Allen called Andover “an atmosphere saturated with cynicism, whereas the Mexicans maintain a positive attitude towards people and life.”

“Mexico is a timeless land where clocks have no meaning and where there is no hurried existence such as one notices in America,” said Fred Puzak. “Instead of a Coke machine you find a man selling juice on ice-cubes. Instead of going to McDonalds, you buy from a little old lady selling tortillas.”

Here is the first part of the article:

Here is the first part of the article:

The Phillipian, 4/14/1971 / Via pdf.phillipian.net

And here is the end of the article:

And here is the end of the article:

The Phillipian, 4/14/1971 / Via pdf.phillipian.net


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