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Nelson, Underwood, Swift and More Talk High School

It may be hard to believe, but Willie Nelson was a jock in high school. After playing both basketball and football, he switched gears when he realized playing something else helped him get the kind of attention that mattered.

“I found out early that having a guitar would draw girls,” Nelson revealed to Country Weekly in a special article highlighting several country stars’ teen years.

Sharing Nelson’s love of sports, both Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney shone as football players. Alan Jackson was a football and basketball star, while Jennifer Hanson and Kellie Pickler spent their high school years on the sidelines as cheerleaders.

Taylor Swift, while maintaining straight A’s, admits she wasn’t always the most focused student.

“If we had random notebook checks, my teachers might find biology notes, then suddenly a bunch of lyrics,” the now home-schooled 18-year-old admits.

Carrie Underwood says she was quite the tomboy as a child, due in part to her surroundings.

“Growing up in the country, I enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, and of course singing,” she reminisces.

Both Vince Gill and Alan Jackson stayed close to their musical aspirations. Gill played in a group called Blue Grass Review during his freshman year, while Jackson performed in his high school musical, ‘Sing Out, Sweet Land.’ Miranda Lambert also developed a love of music during her high school years — so much so that she was asked to write and perform a special song for her high school graduation.

Perhaps least surprising of all are Dolly Parton‘s teenage memories. On one of her last days at school, in 1964, she proclaimed she was moving to Nashville to become a star. Their reaction?

“The entire place erupted in laughter!” remembers the country icon.

You can read about other stars’ high school memories in this week’s edition of Country Weekly magazine.

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