Photo courtesy of Hannah Yen.
At countless schools around the country, individuals are recognized for their academic achievement by being named valedictorian, and are given the honor of addressing their class at graduation. In MCPS, this is not the case.
MCPS does not allow schools to honor a valedictorian, a student with the highest weighted GPA. This is not fair to individuals who have worked tirelessly to maintain their excellent grades in difficult classes.
Consider the difficulty of taking over 10 AP classes as well as a multitude of other grueling honors and advanced courses throughout high school, and sustaining “A” grades in all of them. Despite the strain that ac- companies such course loads, some students are able to accomplish this feat. However, no one is individually recognized for their exceptional academic performance outside of simply being named as one of many members of the academic honor roll each semester and receiving an invite to a dinner for being in the top five percent of weighted GPAs, neither of which receives the level of acknowledgement that a valedictorian deserves.
According to an Observer poll of 79 CHS students, about 57 percent of students believe that CHS should recognize a valedictorian.
According to the poll, a majority of students also believe that if a vale-dictorian were to be recognized, they should speak at graduation.
A valedictorian would be just as deserving of speaking at graduation as SGA members. Although these of-ficers have earned the recognition they receive through their own contribu-tions to the school, it is not fair that they are the only students given the tremendous honor of speaking to their grade while an outstanding individual whose selection would be based directly off merit is excluded.
According to Principal Joan Benz, MCPS doesn’t let schools such as CHS recognize a valedictorian because it would involve nearly 20 students, and there is not enough time for so many speakers since graduation cannot last longer than two hours.
However, such an issue could be rectified easily by comparing specifics regarding the students’ course loads and extracurriculars, such as the number of advanced classes they have taken, their Student Service Learning (SSL) hours and their leadership positions in clubs and groups both inside and outside of school.
MCPS should change its policy immediately and recognize a valedictorian, as well as allow them the honor of delivering a farewell speech at graduation this May.