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Sharing names with nations greats sparks pride
Clermont resident John Adams holds a plaque bearing the family’s coat of arms he received as a gift many years ago. Adams says he is related to the second president and has a lot of fun with his name.

It’s not down in the history books yet, but you might be surprised to know that John Kennedy sat next to Richard Nixon in the sixth grade.

Though, John P. Kennedy, new headmaster at Lakeview Academy, didn’t move on from that North Carolina classroom to become our nation’s president, at least he could provide companionship to another presidentially named youngster.

“He was just so happy to have somebody else,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy could sympathize with the young Nixon, as the presidential associations of Kennedy’s name tend to follow him wherever he goes.

Even if he leaves the country.

As a passenger on a train in Germany, Kennedy was asked to hand his passport over to the train conductor. Worried that he had done something wrong or that there was a problem, Kennedy said he began to get nervous.

But the conductor just wanted to show his co-workers that someone named John Kennedy was on the train.

Hall County resident John Adams also gets a lot of comments concerning his name, and he has his response already prepared.

“Well, I just reincarnated myself as something else,” John Adams tells those who ask about his name. “I got tired of running the government.”

But he said it’s all in fun. He’s proud to share a name with one of the nation’s leaders.

“When I was in grammar school and started in history, I learned that I had the same name as he did,” John Adams said. “It made me feel good. I told a lot of people.”

For Samuel Adams, a resident of Cleveland, history isn’t the only thing that comes to mind when people find out his name — some also think of beer.

“Unfortunately it’s the younger ones that go for the beer allegory,” Samuel Adams said.

Nevertheless, sharing a name with a founding father sparked his interest in American history and prompted him to learn more about his country, even though he’s named for the biblical Samuel and not the patriotic figure.

“When I got into U.S. history and found out he was a founding father, in about the fourth grade, I started researching my name a little further,” Samuel Adams said. “I actually started researching what he did in U.S. history and how he shaped the United States.”

When he got to pick a topic for an elementary school report, he immediately chose his namesake, and was especially interested in learning about the history of the Boston Tea Party.

Now, he would love to travel to Boston to see the historic landmarks and perhaps take a picture next to a statue of his namesake.

“My wife has been up there, and she actually brought back some things about my name,” he said. “About some of the things that he did up there.”

Kennedy also enjoyed learning about his presidential counterpart.

“It was always a sense of pride,” he said. “I collected a lot of half dollars with John F. Kennedy’s picture on them.”

As for the comments, double takes and jokes, they’ve just become a part of the daily life of those who share a name with a historic figure.

“I’m used to it,” Kennedy said. “It’s part of who I am.”