Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine took a break from the campaign Friday to attend a Rockhurt High School reunion of his 1976 graduating class.
His plans to appear at the 40th anniversary celebration were kept quiet until shortly before classmates gathered on the Kansas City campus commons for a party preceding an evening football game.
Kaine and few dozen other alumni then descended the hill to the football field where he once led cheers as a member of the school’s yell squad. Circling the oval track on their way to the seats, the U.S. senator from Virginia waved to a small gathering of reporters but made no prepared remarks.
“It’s going to be a good game,” he said. “This feels great. It really does. A lot great friends.”
Kaine sat in the stands for only 15 minutes — still long enough to see his Hawklets run in a touchdown against Jefferson City High School.
From there, his motorcade took him to a private reunion function at a restaurant in the Prairie Village Shops. A campaign spokesman said he would round out the evening with a family dinner.
Kaine grew up in Overland Park, and both parents and two brothers live in the area.
He spent all four of his high school years at the Jesuit preparatory academy. As a senior, he was elected student council president, capping a variety of campus activities that included debate, a mission trip to Central America and serving on the pastoral committee.
Kaine has frequently cited Rockhurst’s emphasis on service for setting him on a course that put him in the Virginia’s governor’s mansion, the Senate and now a presidential ticket.
“I’m sure it was a little difficult for this to be arranged, but he has a deeply personal connection to Rockhurst,” said close friend and classmate Steve Miller. “What national candidate mentions his high school in a vice presidential debate, which Tim did?”
Rockhurst reunion festivities will continue into Saturday, though Kaine’s time was limited to Friday evening. After an overnight stay, he was scheduled to travel to Florida for a campaign event.