As a child, Hillary Rodham was a teacher's favorite at her public schools in Park Ridge. She participated in swimming, baseball, and other sports. She also earned numerous awards as a Brownie and Girl Scout. She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in student council, the school newspaper, and was selected for National Honor Society. For her senior year, she was redistricted to Maine South High School, where she was a National Merit Finalist and graduated in the top five percent of her class of 1965. Her mother wanted her to have an independent, professional career, and her father, otherwise a traditionalist, was of the opinion that his daughter's abilities and opportunities should not be limited by gender.
Raised in a politically conservative household,
 at age thirteen Rodham helped canvass South Side Chicago following the very close 1960 U.S. presidential election, where she found evidence of electoral fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. She then volunteered to campaign for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the U.S. presidential election of 1964.
 Rodham's early political development was shaped most by her high school history teacher (like her father, a fervent anticommunist), who introduced her to Goldwater's classic The Conscience of a Conservative, and by her Methodist youth minister (like her mother, concerned with issues of social justice), with whom she saw and met civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in Chicago in 1962.