Researchers for Arizona's famous Sheriff Arpaio have been in contact with several of Barack Obama's teachers and classmates from his elementary school days in Malaysia. Arpaio, a critic of and target of the Administration, has been in the news lately for his ongoing investigations of the President's background.
Barack Obama's teachers remember Barry Soetoro, as he was then known, as being a curly haired youth who generally learned quickly, but in a very unusual, selective manner.
Desir Asman Oneto was Soetoro's math teacher for most of his elementary years. Oneto says that the "young Kenyan student had a very hard time understanding addition and was befuddled by the concepts involved in computing interest and compounding. On the other hand, he was decent at multiplication, and really outstanding at division." So good in fact, that Oneto dubbed young Barry as The Great Divider. "It was a moniker he really relished," said Oneto.
Obama's learning advantages and limitations also seemed to translate to his motor skills. Teacher Risel Mysiq recalled how he was very good at tearing down toy structures of all kinds and dividing the parts into groups based on their color. However, he was completely stymied when challenged to assemble even the simplest kind of toy. Mysig said "He showed an unusual aversion to toy vehicles of any kind unless they were battery-powered."
Soetoro's art teacher, Mifart'is Givmiwa further confirmed young Barry's paradoxical learning affectations. "He was really very good at pointing, and therefore, at finger painting, as long as we used water based paints. But when it came to using oil-based colorings with a brush, he would become almost apoplectic, and refuse to participate."
School counselor Ismus Hedi said that despite Soetoro's unusual intellect, the young student was by no means demure. Hedi told investigators "I've never seen a student with so much self confidence, one so self-focused, almost to the point of obsession. He did not make friends easily, but he was always anxious to speak on their behalf. I also recall how insistent he could be about each student having the same number of pencils and crayons, and the anger he would show if a friend had a better lunch."
Only two persons were contacted who were young classmates of the President. Both declined to comment on their recollections.