They look alike. They sound alike. Their mannerisms are almost identical. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and the family resemblances don’t end there. They were both student body presidents at Hammond–the only father/son duo to claim such distinction. In 1973, Ree Hart served as Hammond’s seventh president, and 34 years after he passed the gavel, his son, Bo, made a name for himself as the school’s 40th president. As fate would have it, Bo returned to Hammond in yet another presidential role … that of Alumni Council President.
The two found similarities and differences between their senior years. Winning sports teams were a common thread, particularly football state championship games, but the issues facing their tenures were vastly different.
Ree mainly dealt with dress code violations that were far stricter than those of today. According to Ree, “I was faced with issues of boys wanting to wear their hair longer and girls wanting to wear their dresses shorter. Seniors wanted to leave campus for lunch, wear blue jeans, and have a senior lounge.” Bo, on the other hand, managed and planned pep rallies, homecoming events, and service projects.
Both Ree and Bo agree that the hardest part of their jobs was balancing what students wanted with what the school administration required. “I walked a fine line between representing my fellow students and ensuring the administration’s rules and regulations were being respected,” noted Bo.
Although in different ways, they have both left their marks on Hammond. According to Ree, “We were fortunate enough to establish the senior privilege of leaving campus for lunch–although our only choices back then were McDonald’s and LaBrasca’s.” Bo, on the other hand, recalls a student council swap with another local school and representing Hammond at two SCISA conferences, the only school to do so.
Fifteen years have passed since a Hart served as student body president, although Hammond is never far from their hearts or minds. This winter, Ree was named to the Hammond Athletics Hall of Fame, and Bo continues to lead efforts on behalf of the Alumni Council.
With a third generation Hart due to arrive in May, one can’t help but wonder if a new student body president is in the making.