NEW MILFORD, Conn. — Shortly before her international celebrity, Paris Hilton was a wobbly teenage hockey player who was asked to leave her New England boarding school for calling limousines to depart campus at will, according to Hilton’s classmates and teachers.
WND has obtained a 1999 team photo of the Hilton Hotel heiress when she was a 17-year-old junior at Canterbury School, a private college-prep campus nestled in the hills of western Connecticut.
Paris Hilton stands in the center of the back row in a 1999 photo of Canterbury School’s junior varsity girls’ hockey team (photo exclusive to WND courtesy Canterbury School)
“That was quite the sight,” said Hilton’s teammate and Canterbury hockey captain Stacy Burns White, when asked about Paris’ skill on ice.
“I don’t know I would say she skated well. She was not the sturdiest on her skates, as I’m sure it would be for anyone who hadn’t skated before.”
Hilton herself was previously quoted as saying she played hockey in high school, noting, “I would always move around, I wasn’t just one position.”
According to White, Paris was not an aggressive member of the junior-varsity squad, rarely if ever smashing into fellow players.
“She was more concentrating on continuing to stand up – certainly not knocking people down unless it was by accident in case she fell.”
White told WND that one day during practice, Hilton kept complaining her head was hurting. White thought there might be a problem with Paris’ helmet, so she helped her take it off.
“When I removed her helmet, I saw she had a banana clip [keeping her hair in place]. They’re rather big underneath the helmet. I told her, ‘We need to take the banana clip out.’ Paris responded, ‘What am I supposed to do about my hair?’ She clearly didn’t understand how this all worked.”
Paris Hilton in her high-school hockey uniform (enlarged photo exclusive to WND courtesy Canterbury School)
Hilton is said to have lasted only a few weeks at the scenic campus, arriving for classes in the fall of 1998, and out by the following February.
One of her relatives, Hilton McAuliffe, was also a Canterbury student and graduated in 2001, according to the school’s alumni directory.
Paris Hilton is not the only celebrity to have attended the school. Other famous names include novelist and Vanity Fair reporter Dominick Dunne, 1972 vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, and President John F. Kennedy, who began classes in the fall of 1930 at age 13, but left in an ambulance the next spring due to an appendicitis attack.
Hilton’s departure from Canterbury had more to do with behavioral issues, according to those associated with the school.
“She didn’t follow the rules and was asked to leave campus,” said Marc Vanasse, a film teacher who also handles school publications. He explained Hilton was known to call for limousines and leave campus in stealth fashion in order to attend parties in New York or New Jersey.
“She had car service at her disposal,” Hilton’s dorm parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, told WND, noting Paris would even take other students with her. “She didn’t go through the proper channels [for permission to leave]. She couldn’t abide by the rules.”
Paris Hilton resided here in the Carter House girls’ dorm at Canterbury
The dorm parent said Hilton became somewhat of a sensation upon her arrival at the Carter House dormitory.
“Her wardrobe and her looks [caused] quite a scene. She didn’t go undetected. Paris has a flair, she always did.”
She called Hilton’s wardrobe “fabulous,” “which in a girls’ dorm went over big.”
Regarding personal cleanliness, “She was a slob,” the dorm parent said. “Her room was a disaster. I remember always telling her to clean up.”
She said it was hard to say if Paris had any close friends while at Canterbury.
“Girls are catty. All the attention went to her. Some of the girls hated her for that. Others wanted to be her best friend.”
The Old English-themed campus of Canterbury School is located in New Milford, Conn., not far from Lake Candlewood
As far as Hilton’s smarts, her dorm parent, who also is a faculty member, said, “She’s no dummy. That’s all an act. She was fairly intelligent and probably would have been a fine student.”
French professor Corey Chandler had Paris in his class during her brief time on campus.
“I can’t say that I taught her French, though I did make the attempt,” Chandler said. “I kept telling her with a name like Paris, she needed to get this down.”
“All the boys would always be ogling her, and I never understood why,” he said jokingly.
Chandler says Hilton was often absent from class, and didn’t do the homework when she was there. He recalls voicing his concerns to the school’s administration.
“They told me not to worry about it, that Paris was not going to be there that long. And, lo and behold, she found a way to get herself uninvited.”
Regarding Hilton’s at-will departures from campus, hockey teammate White said, “I certainly don’t think the faculty was shrugging it off. Everyone else had to follow the rules. It didn’t take long to realize she wasn’t going to get away with that activity.”
The last straw that prompted Hilton’s exit from Canterbury was Paris’ alleged drinking on campus at a dance in early 1999, according to her dorm parent.
“She was drunk,” her dorm parent stated, explaining the school finally took action.
“She was kicked out. She was not allowed to stay.”
Margie Jenkins, Canterbury’s dean of students at the time, told WND that Hilton wasn’t disciplined for drinking, but rather violating rules regarding leaving her dorm after hours and getting into someone’s car.
She says after a phone call to Paris’ parents from the headmaster, “Her parents withdrew her in the face of a possible dismissal.”
Jenkins says she personally liked Hilton, but Paris “really didn’t want to be there. She was just a kid, a poor little rich girl.”
Editor’s note: Joe Kovacs is a graduate of Canterbury School.
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