Jack attended Choate, a boarding school in Connecticut, from 1931 to 1935. His academic performance was uneven, as he applied himself only to the subjects he enjoyed. He was a disorganized student, a mischievous prankster, and was often in trouble with his teachers, parents, and school headmaster. Yet he distinguished himself with his keen intellect and winning personality.
There are several references in a scrapbook he compiled to the “Muckers,” a secret club that Jack organized with a small group of his most mischievous classmates. The headmaster’s term for troublemakers was “muckers,” which the group adopted and wore as a badge of honor.
One of the Muckers’schemes, thwarted by the school headmaster before it could be executed, was a plan to move a pile of horse manure into the school gym; the idea nearly got the group expelled.