Staff Editorial: Valedictorian status replaced

Short notice change prompts concerns


Lex Lee

Seniors work on project during IB English HL April 7. The Valedictorian title is will no longer be awarded at Park.

With each class of graduating seniors comes awards and honors for their high school achievements. The most recognizable is the coveted valedictorian award, which at Park was received by students with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), and who participated in at least five advanced placement (AP) classes. But, the honors for the graduating senior class of 2022 will look a little different this June. 

Instead of the valedictorian title, according to a presentation given to seniors, Park has opted for a latin ranked system based on GPA, with titles Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude, representing a range of GPA’s. The highest award, Summa Cum Laude, will honor students with a 3.9-4.0 GPA. While the Echo Editorial Board believes that this system will show students growth and be overall more inclusive, it could have been implemented in a later graduating class. 

Firstly, the Board believes that having the highest honor be from between a 3.9-4.0 GPA allows students to grow academically as they move through high school. With the valedictorian system, even receiving an A- in freshman year automatically took a student out of consideration for the honor, which leaves absolutely no room for error. Even if a student’s grades were not straight A’s, this new system allows for more flexibility and leeway, and can show a student’s  effort to raise their GPA. This also allowed more students to be awarded high achievement awards and will hopefully be more inclusive towards students, besides just a select few receiving awards. 

The Board also believes that this decision was made with far too short notice and the class of 2022 should not be the first year it is instituted. Many students come into freshman year with the goal of being valedictorian and work incredibly hard to meet that goal. Instead of implementing this policy into the graduating class, with many seniors who had full expectations of being valedictorians come spring, this system could be started when earlier classes such as the current freshman (class of 2025) graduate. That way, seniors are not given surprises right at the end of their high school career, and younger classes have a full picture of what is expected. Furthermore, many colleges give scholarships to seniors who receive the title of valedictorian and the Board believes this is unfair to current seniors, and strips students of their opportunities when applying to colleges. 

While the Echo Editorial Board hopes that this system will be more inclusive and forgiving for students, we believe administration should reconsider the impacts this may have on the class of 2022.