Montreal

Joe Biden's new running mate, Kamala Harris, is a Westmount High graduate

For five years, from Grade 7 to Grade 11, Harris attended high school in Montreal. "She got along with everybody," a former classmate said.

40 years ago, Harris attended high school in Montreal

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaks during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 10, 2019 during her campaign for the democratic nomination. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Joe Biden has chosen U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, a graduate of Westmount High School, as his running mate in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.

Biden is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

Harris, 55, has made history by being the first Black woman to compete on a major party's presidential ticket.

For five years, from Grade 7 to Grade 11, Harris attended high school in Montreal. She graduated in 1981. Dean Smith, a former classmate, recalled Harris as "perfect, always smiling, a nice person" on CBC's Let's Go Tuesday afternoon.

"She got along with everybody," Smith said. "It was a lot of rich kids from Westmount mixed in with kids from the lower area of Montreal. She popped up from California. She could blend with both."

Harris, who served as California's attorney general before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017, was born in Oakland, Calif.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast-cancer scientist originally from Chennai, India, brought Harris and her sister, Maya, to Montreal in the 1970s when she took a job teaching at McGill University and doing research at the Jewish General Hospital. 

Her father, Donald Harris, was born in Jamaica and is a retired Stanford University economics professor.

The 1981 yearbook for Westmount High includes Kamala Harris, who attended the school for five years, while her mother, a breast cancer scientist, worked as a researcher at the Jewish General Hospital and taught at McGill University. (CBC)

Harris is known for her rigorous questioning in the U.S. Senate, including a memorable exchange with Attorney General William Barr over the Mueller report in May 2019.

Sought the Democratic nomination

In January 2019, she announced she would join the Democratic presidential race. But by December, she had officially withdrawn, citing a lack of funds.

Still, her campaign was notable for her strong performance in debates, where she often targeted Biden.

Smith, her former classmate, called her "the right match for Donald Trump."

"He won't be able to verbally spar with her," he said. "She has the intellect to deal with him."

Biden made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. 

Now she's aiming to be the first female vice president of the United States. 0:29

"I have the great honor to announce that I've picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants — as my running mate," the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate wrote on Twitter.

The U.S. Presidential election takes place on Nov. 3.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now