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Evaluating the valedictorian dilemma

Sitting+side+by+side%2C+a+class+of+high+school+students+prepare+to+officially+graduate.+In+previous+years%2C+a+single+valedictorian+would+be+recognized+in+front+of+the+entire+class.+Now+10%25+of+these+students+will+be+recognized.
Sitting side by side, a class of high school students prepare to officially graduate. In previous years, a single valedictorian would be recognized in front of the entire class. Now 10% of these students will be recognized.

Sitting side by side, a class of high school students prepare to officially graduate. In previous years, a single valedictorian would be recognized in front of the entire class. Now 10% of these students will be recognized.

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Sitting side by side, a class of high school students prepare to officially graduate. In previous years, a single valedictorian would be recognized in front of the entire class. Now 10% of these students will be recognized.

Seraphin Kibonge, Social Media Editor

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 Competition is a major part of our society today; everybody wants to be number one. Everybody wants to be the cream of the crop, and that mentality is especially true of high school students. However, the valedictorian system is detrimental to the students, while the new system of Latin Honors, which will be introduced in the 2018-2019 school year, will be beneficial.

 The valedictorian system was based on class rankings. Class rankings are determined by grade point averages (GPA) throughout a student’s four years in high school. The school then puts together a list that places every student in a certain class based on their weighted GPAs, which takes into account students taking more challenging classes, such as Honors, AP, and IB. The top ranking person in the senior class was appointed as valedictorian. This process sounds simple enough. However, there a many problems with it. First, the use of weighted GPAs put students who did not take AP or IB classes at a major disadvantage. You will not see a valedictorian at Millbrook who has not taken a good amount of those classes. There was also the issue of students transferring in from other counties and states, some of which have different standards. Senior Keerti Kalluru, a valedictorian candidate in the old system, said, “I think [transfers becoming valedictorian] are not unfair since the student has no control over where they transfer and how their previous school’s system was set up. However, I believe Latin Honors takes that problem away.”

 Latin Honors is a system that recognizes students in three separate categories: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. High schools do not know for sure what the percentage breakdown of these categories will be, but if it is anything like college, then the top 10% will be recognized as cum laude, top 5% will be recognized as magna cum laudes, and top 1% will be recognized as summa cum laudes. At Millbrook, this means that a student will receive a cord for their graduation gown. Latin Honors is a more effective way of recognizing students who work hard in school. With the percentage system, more students are recognized, rather than a single valedictorian, and students that transfer in will not have an advantage or disadvantage depending on how their old school’s GPAs worked. Senior Josh McCorquodale, a student within the top 5% of his class, mirrored this sentiment: “Latin Honors give more students an opportunity to be recognized, and I definitely think that’s a good thing. There is no reason to shut people out.”

 Some students believe that the old system was a good thing because it gave students extra motivation to do the best they can in class. While the chase for valedictorian can be used as form of motivation to push a student forward, so can Latin Honors. The valedictorian system has created an abundance of stress for students who wanted to be recognized and left other students not vying for the top spot as practically invisible. Latin Honors eliminates most of the prior issues with the valedictorian system. Sure, there is not the competition to be number one, but even the Olympics give medals to second place.

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Evaluating the valedictorian dilemma