PCP: Removal of valedictorians’ status causes controversy

May 12, 2022

Valedictorian award motivates students

Valedictorian is an award that has the ability to eliminate an unhealthy awarding system. If schools are willing to give this achievement to all graduating students who meet the criteria, then there would be more emphasis on student learning rather than student competition. Valedictorian awards students for taking harder classes and reaching a high level of academic achievement. If it is rewarded to more than one student it would eliminate the pressure of simply having the highest GPA.

This year, valedictorian status has been removed as an award for graduating seniors. Having the valedictorian award to work for gives students a reason to strive for a greater level of academic success. That being said, the system in which they’re selected should be corrected, making it an accessible title for all who wish to work for it. 

Incorporating this award in our graduation system will motivate students to excel in their academics. By having a goal that you are striving to meet, students have more of a reason to work hard in school and participate in activities they would not particularly participate in otherwise. Some of the positive activities students may choose to participate in while attempting to earn this honor may create positive relationships and experiences rather than just academic recognition.

This award also opens up college opportunities. While it does not have a direct affect on college acceptance, it may have an affect on scholarships. Colleges often look for students who are academically inclined. That being said, the criteria that students often meet to receive these honors typically involve a high GPA and good test scores. It also goes a long way on resumes if a student does not choose to receive post-secondary education.

Recognizing students who work hard to earn a title of academic achievement should have the option to do so. Furthermore, I believe that the title of valedictorian is an essential goal that students should have the option to meet as it motivates students to put in effort in their school work.

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Valedictorian award causes unneeded stress to students

As a graduating senior, this will be the first year Park has decided to not give out a valedictorian award. I believe this is an appropriate decision, as the traditional award doesn’t take into account course load or course difficulty. This means someone who takes all standard classes at the bare minimum credit requirements can be given the same recognition as someone who took the most rigorous class schedule possible.

The removal of this system also gives students less stress when completing their highschool career. Having friends who attempted for this award, they have been overworked, stressed out, and lost opportunities in other aspects because of the need to be valedictorian. I believe the removal will help further students realize other opportunities in social and extracurricular activities.

I believe some other good reasons for the removal are alternative rewards. This year, students are split up by a range of GPAs rather than just the highest honor. This will result in giving the highest rewards to more students, resulting in better college and job opportunities for more students in the future. This will benefit the students who have the highest gpas, as well as the students who just fell short of the 4.0 marking.

This information being given to us can be seen as unfair to those who were striving for valedictorian, though needed in order to implement in the future. I believe the students who were in pursuit of the title will still receive rewards that stand out from fellow peers, and that the fight for valedictorian is a battle for the name, not the actual accomplishment. I say this because valedictorians are looked at as prodigies and students strive for that, overlooking the actual accomplishment and more so being overly competitive.

For future graduates, I hope they appreciate this shift, as it will open their eyes to other opportunities and show them the other side of high school outside of academics. Students need this change, as high school is  where students develop into young adults, and making them stunt that development by making them compete for the highest mark can be detrimental to the students social skills and mental health.

Administration made the right choice removing the valedictorian system, as it sends students into stress and unneeded mental strain. This change will give students more opportunities socially as well as for extracurriculars. Furthermore, more students will be awarded, giving them better opportunities in the future.

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