As a child, Rodham was a favorite student among her teachers at the public schools she attended in Park Ridge. She participated in swimming and softball and earned numerous badges as a Brownie and a Girl Scout. She has often told the story of being inspired by U. S. efforts during the Space Race and sending a letter to NASA around 1961 asking what she could do to become an astronaut, only to be informed that women were not being accepted into the program. She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in the student council and school newspaper and was selected for the National Honor Society. She was elected class vice president for her junior year but then lost the election for class president for her senior year against two boys, one of whom told her that "you are really stupid if you think a girl can be elected president". For her senior year, she and other students were transferred to the then new Maine South High School. There she was a National Merit Finalist and was voted, "most likely to succeed". She graduated in 1965 in the top five percent of her class.