A visitor to St. Paul City Hall will face a personal inquiry: Where did you go to high school?
"That's the No. 1 question you get. A large portion of people grew up in St. Paul and stayed in St. Paul," said newly elected City Council Member Chris Tolbert (St. Paul Central High School 2001), who followed a star athlete, Council Member Melvin Carter (1997), at the school.
Council President Kathy Lantry (St. Agnes School 1979) knows that "instant judgments are made" based on school history. "This is St. Paul; it's parishes, schools and neighborhoods," Lantry said.
She married a classmate from the Catholic school in Frogtown and graduated with four women who still gather for monthly dinners.
Council Member Dan Bostrom (St. Paul Johnson High School 1958) lives two miles from his alma mater, where son, Sheriff Matt Bostrom (1979), also went.
Some private suburban schools confer St. Paul credibility. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm attended a Catholic, all-boys school in Mendota Heights (St. Thomas Academy 1986), as did Ramsey County Attorney John Choi (1988). Also in Mendota Heights: the all-girls Convent of the Visitation attended by Mayor Chris Coleman's chief of staff, Erin Dady (1995), and his environmental coordinator, Anne Hunt (1978).
The mayor went to Catholic school (Cretin 1979).
Outsiders have elbowed their way in. The remaining three council members didn't graduate from St. Paul schools. Deputy Mayor Paul Williams went to the private Breck School in Golden Valley (1980), and mayoral spokesman Joe Campbell graduated from public school in West St. Paul (Henry Sibley 2001). Parks spokesman Brad Meyer came far (St. Cloud Cathedral 2000).
Like this reporter (Kennedy 1984), ubiquitous City Hall lobbyist Ted Davis came from a Bloomington school (Lincoln 1981). "I had to achieve St. Paul," Davis said. "I wasn't born to it, so I had to work at it."
Rochelle Olson • 651-735-9749