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Updated Jun 21, 2012 - 7:26 am

Former teacher remembers Romney as teen

MESA, Ariz. -- Before he was Gov. Mitt Romney, or presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney, he was simply Mitt.

At least that's how Helen Schlie of Mesa sees him. Schlie was Romney's Mormon Sunday School teacher when he was 15 and living in Michigan. She even had to drag him to class on occasion.

"He and Dennis Gallagher were always some place in the [church] building," said Schlie. "I had to go find them."

Schlie also visited Mitt's mother, Lenore, on occasion at the Romney home. She remembers watching Romney and his siblings eating meals at the table, and notes that they were a well-behaved bunch.

It's been 50 years since Romney was in Schlie's class and much has changed for him, but when Schlie sees Romney on TV talking with voters and debating rivals, she doesn't see a presidential candidate. She see the same boy that she pulled into her Sunday School class.

"He's been taught from Day One how to handle people, and how to be kind and honest," said Schlie. "He would look at things from all perspectives. He would look at things from every angle before he made a decision."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started here in December 2011. I'm definitely the new kid.

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado.

Education: I got my undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. I then went to graduate school at Arizona State University.

Family: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie, since June 2010. We don't have any kids, but we do have a cat that causes as much trouble as a kid.

Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies and cucumbers. In fact, every day I have a couple of cucumbers in my work bag chopped up and ready for snacking. I eat the cookies to offset being too healthy.

Favorite spot in Arizona: Sedona, hands down. I actually went there for my honeymoon.

Favorite news memory: I worked on a 3-month project involving the problems with Type II Diabetes along the U.S.-Mexico Border. It's a problem that a lot of people don't about. I met and worked with people down there that changed my life.

Favorite movie: It's hard to pin down just one, but one that always keeps replaying in my head is The Princess Bride.

Favorite TV Show: That 70's Show and The Simpsons. I could probably name some others, but I watch those two as often as possible.

First job: I was a busboy for an Old Chicago back home in Boulder. I worked all through high school at that place, and loved it.

Favorite band: I have a lot of music I listen to, but I love the Foo Fighters and Rise Against. 3 Doors Down is another group that's a favorite on my iPod.

Favorite sports team: The San Francisco 49ers by far! I get a lot of guff for cheering for them in Arizona, but I love every moment of it. As far as college sports go, I'm always following the BYU Cougars.

Outside interests: My wife and I love going outdoors, whether it's camping or hiking. Personally, I love mountain biking. I also play a little guitar when I have a bit of free time.

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