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Paula Broadwell biography: Paula Kranz voted most likely to be remembered in high school


Before meeting General David Petraeus, biographer Paula Broadwell was driven to succeed at a North Dakota high school, where she was named student council president and valedictorian.

Paula Broadwell, 40, was revealed late last week to be the woman who engaged in an extramarital affair with David Petraeus, forcing him to resign from his position as CIA director.

But in 1991, Paula Broadwell was known back then as Paula Kranz, who attended Century High School in Bismarck, where she was voted homecoming queen and “most likely to be remembered” in the school’s yearbook.

She also played lead violin in the school orchestra, dominated on the basketball court, and loved a newly-formed band called Cheap Thrillz.

Paula Broadwell, then Paula Kranz, was also regarded as an exceptional public speaker, with one telling caption under a Yearbook photo reading simply: “Paula Kranz gives one of her many speeches to an auditorium full of students.”

Her high school maxim was, the rather earnest: “God has given me all of these gifts to use to the best of my ability.”

Many people knew her for her numerous awards: the AUU/Mars Milky Way Foundation Scholar, All State Tournament for girls basketball, North Dakota State Student Council President, and a remarkable 36 other achievements.

She held nine leadership positions and was involved in four extra-curricular and community activities during her high school years.

But, as the past few days have shown, Paula Broadwell is only human, despite the promising high school record.

As one faculty member who knew Paula Broadwell said: “Sometimes her school work and friendships suffered a little from the lack of time she was able to put into them.”

But Paula Kranz apparently had no regrets. She told classmates at the time that her experiences “helped her form a broader perspective on life and on the world”.

Of the awards, the one that gave her the greatest satisfaction was making the All-State Basketball team, an honor that also made her father Paul Kranz proud – as he too was a hoops star.

“Working hard for something adds to the satisfaction of achieving that goal,” she told the Century High yearbook.

“I don’t feel I missed out on being a teenager; but through the many opportunities I’ve been given, I’ve lived life to the fullest – giving the best that I had so the best would come back.”

Paula Broadwell was known among her classmates as a go-getter who did not get sucked into the early 90s teen party scene.

Her homecoming king, Mike McCormick told the New York Post: “She was devoted and studied and worked hard to get good grades. She didn’t really go out and party like high-school kids do.”

It would be hard to imagine a more focused student or a High School record that spoke more of ambition than Paula’s.

Mike McCormick, 40, told the paper that he was surprised by the allegations that she carried on an extramarital affair with Gen David Petraeus as she followed him around while writing his biography.

The statement was echoed by friends of Paula Broadwell, who said the allegations of an affair with America’s top intelligence official was out of character.

In 1991, Paula Broadwell, then Paula Kranz, attended Century High School in Bismarck, where she was voted homecoming queen and most likely to be remembered in the school's yearbook

In 1991, Paula Broadwell, then Paula Kranz, attended Century High School in Bismarck, where she was voted homecoming queen and most likely to be remembered in the school’s yearbook

David Bixler, a wounded soldier who met Paula Broadwell through a charity in 2010, told ABC News: “I have some serious questions about who is connecting these dots… Paula Broadwell is not the type… she isn’t.”

Paula Broadwell lives with her husband Scott, a radiologist, and their two children in a suburban Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood.

Ed Williams, a neighbor who lives two houses down from the Broadwell family in Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood, told Reuters: “Everyone is surprised and shocked.”

Paula Broadwell’s father Paul Kranz, a retired high school basketball coach, sprung to his daughter’s defense today.

Paul Kranz aid the shock of the past few days is “just the beginning of a process”.

He spoke briefly this morning on the snow-covered drive of his modest bungalow in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Paul Kranz said: “I’ve been advised by attorneys not to talk right now. This is private property.

“I hope you understand this is the beginning of a process. I can’t say more than that. I couldn’t if I wanted to.”

Paul Kranz is divorced from his wife and Paula’s mother Nadene Kranz, who lives in Boise, Idaho.

From Century High School, Paula Broadwell moved on to the West Point Military Academy in New York.

Paula Broadwell met David Petraeus in 2006 when she was a student at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the two casually exchanged emails for two years.

In 2008, Paula Broadwell bonded with David Petraeus while interviewing the four-star general during runs on the Potomac River as she pursued her Ph D in public policy.

“A few months into my research, General Petraeus, who was then leading Central Command, invited me to go for a run with him and his team along the Potomac River during one of his visits to Washington,” Paula Broadwell writes in the biography, titled All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.

“I figured I could interview him while we ran.”

Paula Broadwell explained that, after earning varsity letters in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track, she wanted to test him to see if he could keep up with her as she interviewed him.

“Instead it became a test for me,” she said.

“As we talked during the run from the Pentagon to the Washington Monument and back, Petraeus progressively increased the pace until the talk turned to heavy breathing and we reached a six-minute-per-mile pace. It was a signature Petraeus move.”

Promoting the book on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in January, Paula Broadwell insisted that these mile-long runs together were nothing out of the ordinary.

“This is a typical mechanism for him to get to know young people,” she said.

“He’s done it throughout his life. That was the foundation of our relationship.”

In another often awkward radio interview in January, host Don Imus said that the pair must have “obviously” liked each other.

Paula Broadwell responded: “You know, as I said earlier, he has a number of mentees and that’s one thing that’s different when you compare him to other Senior Commanders.

“But, yeah, we had a lot of rapport. I think some of that comes from a common ground of having gone to West Point [to the U.S. Military Academy].”

Of her reported rival, Holly Petraeus,  Paula Broadwell added: “He is married to Holly Petraeus, who is a wonderful military spouse and done so much for their children and for children of fallen soldiers. I respect her immensely.”

The book’s description explains how Paula Broadwell conducted research for three years and was “afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates and his longtime friends”.

The book’s website adds Paula Broadwell was embedded in Afghanistan with David Petraeus for a year between July 2010 and 2011.