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TIME Exclusive: President Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.
Kelli Allman / Contact Press Images From left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.

Direct from 1979, it's the 44th President on prom night

This article originally appeared in the May 23, 2013 edition of TIME magazine underneath the title, “Obama’s Grand Old Party.” To subscribe to TIME, click here.

Tucked away in someone else’s shoe box of adolescent artifacts, there might be a picture of you in garish clothes and with an outdated ‘do, your arm around a high school squeeze. The President of the United States is no different. These previously unpublished photos, obtained exclusively by TIME from Obama’s schoolmate Kelli Allman (née McCormack), show a 17-year-old Barack Obama on the night of his senior prom.

Barry spent his days at the Punahou School in Hawaii studying, shooting hoops and goofing off with his friends. Greg Orme, a fellow varsity basketball player, was Obama’s constant companion. “They were like brothers,” says Allman. On prom night, the pair double-dated. Obama and his date Megan Hughes, a student at the Hawaii School for Girls at La Pietra, joined Orme at Allman’s house, where the two couples sipped champagne before going to the dance and then an after-party. “It was a really fun, happy time. We were all cracking up, and everyone was smiling,” says Allman. “It was pretty typical from there out as far as what happens at prom: the dinner and the dancing and the photos.”

Millions of American teenagers will go to proms this year. Their photos are more likely to be stored on Facebook than in a shoe box. But it’s fun to imagine that in one of those pictures, there’s a girl in a pastel dress or a lanky guy in a white sport coat who will end up becoming the leader of the free world.

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo
Kelli Allman / Contact Press ImagesLeft: Kelli Allman‘s OAHUAN 1979 Yearbook.
Right: Obama wrote the above note in Allman’s yearbook at the end of his senior year in 1979.
Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.
Kelli Allman / Contact Press ImagesFrom left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.
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