Tour Stop #6
East Whittier Elementary
When the Nixons moved from Yorba Linda, Dick transferred into the 5th grade here at East Whittier Whittier Elementary. He used to ride his bike down Whittier Boulevard to school, never missing a day, often receiving perfect attendance certificates.
It was at East Whittier that teacher Lewis Cox exposed Dick Nixon to his first taste of debate with the topic, “Whether It Was Better To Own or Rent a Home.” He honed his skills on other topics such as “Resolved: That Insects Are More Beneficial Than Harmful” and “Whether A Cow Or A Horse Was More Beneficial To The Human Race.”
Nixon realized that relating arguments to real-life situations was “more important than a lot of flamboyant oratory in determining the outcome of the debate.”
Young Dick Nixon was a popular student, even serving as his 8th grade class president and speaking at the graduation ceremony where keynote speaker Walter Dexter, the President of Whittier College was impressed with young Nixon’s talents.
Nixon stated at the time: “My plans for the future if I could carry them out are to finish Whittier High School and College and then I would like to study law and enter politics for an occupation so that I may be of some good to the people.” Let that sink in for a second. A 13 year old laid out his entire life in the statement: “My plans for the future if I could carry them out are to finish Whittier High School and College and then I would like to study law and enter politics for an occupation so that I may be of some good to the people.”
And he lived it!