Kimball Konception: School’s best, brightest should be awarded

Andy Kimball
Opinion Columnist

Andy_Column PhotoWhen career counselor Karen Verstraete was asked about the high school not having a valedictorian, she was surprised saying, “Really, we don’t have a valedictorian?”

I have the same feeling. After making a call Verstraete told me the reason there is not a valedictorian is because the high school doesn’t rank students based on GPA.

In Verstraete words, “(WGHS) doesn’t rank because we want to recognize more students for their academic achievement.” Verstraete told me the high school recognizes students with Latin honors cum laude, magna cum laude and suma cum laude. The honors are determined by GPA.

There are eagle awards and book awards, but something should be said for leading your class in GPA.

The school should do this because it would help the students who received the valedictorian awards. Winning valedictorian is a very good thing to have when applying to colleges, especially when applying to very selective universities or colleges. Also, there are scholarships offered to valedictorians.

The school might not want to create too competitive of an environment for students academically, but having a valedictorian would also bring out the best in students academically, and that should be a goal for the school’s administrators.

Having a valedictorian would also show students the real world truth that there are winners and non-winners. Students can still be recognized with the Latin honors, but not everyone can be valedictorian.

A possible issue could be that students would choose a class strictly because it is honors or that one honors class could make a thousandth of a point differential to decide the valedictorian. An example could be if a student had a 4.1232 and another student took one fewer honors class and had a 4.1231.

A solution to that problem could be by rounding off to the hundredth decimal point so both students would have a 4.12, and award them both as co-valedictorians.

Also, if the school doesn’t want to rank all of its students, it does not have to. It can just take the student, or group of students, with the highest GPA and award him/her with valedictorian and leave the rest of the students unranked.

The main point is that the high school should specifically award its best and brightest students for their outstanding academic achievement.

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