May 17, 2018
I’ve always been a goal oriented person. From the time I was a little girl I’ve always set goals for myself that other people would consider impossible; whether it be never getting a “B” in any of my classes, or taking eight classes in a year. However, the biggest goal I’ve ever aspired to is to be the valedictorian of my class. I decided when I was in elementary school that I wanted to be the valedictorian of my school the second I found out what a valedictorian was and have dedicated the last twelve years of schooling to this effort. The reason why I’ve gotten all A’s and taken eight classes in a year was for the sole reason of achieving my goal to be valedictorian, so imagine my surprise when I found out that, through no fault of my own, I would never be valedictorian. As it turns out, in 2003 our school district stopped honoring the valedictorian entirely. For an academic institution it makes no sense not to honor the top performing student in the school. We have entire banquets and ceremonies dedicated to honoring athletes and yet the student with the highest grades in the entire school is left out in the cold. The reasoning given for abandoning the title of valedictorian was that the district wanted to honor more students, and while there’s nothing wrong with this premise I see no reason why we can’t to both. Why can’t the school district honor both athletes, artists, and academics?
I’ve heard other students complain that choosing to honor students for their academics is designed to make other students feel bad. To me this is completely ridiculous- students who work exceptionally hard should be rewarded. I have several friends who are ranked in the top ten of their class and who are frustrated that the only acknowledgement they receive from administration is 10 seconds at a pep assembly that nobody even goes to. Furthermore, this lack of recognition hurts top performing students because when applying for college they are unable to list “valedictorian” or another award on their list of honors. When competing with students from around the country it hurts students from the Francis Howell District that they are unable to list as many awards as students in other parts of the country. If the district truly wants to do its best to prepare students for college they should honor one of the hardest working student in the school- the valedictorian.