Editorial: Valedictorian candidates compete for title

Students compete in order to earn the honor of being valedictorian.
Photo Credit: Bserat Ghebremicael
Students compete in order to earn the honor of being valedictorian.Photo Credit: Bserat Ghebremicael
Students compete in order to earn the honor
of being valedictorian.
Photo Credit: Bserat Ghebremicael

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a valedictorian is “the student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises.”

In 2012, there were 22 schools in the Clark County School District who presented the valedictorian title to more than one student. In Florida, 25 valedictorians were classified by another high school. And in Houston, one school had 30 valedictorians for the class of 2010.

Those who strive to earn this distinction work hard to earn their spot by taking Advanced Placement and Honors courses and maintaining a flawless GPA throughout high school. During these four years, they continue to work diligently and sacrifice time to gain recognition in their academics as well as their extracurriculars, in order to claim this valedictorian title.

The valedictorian, specifically, is an honor for a student to represent their graduating class. When schools allow multiple valedictorians, candidates challenge themselves and aim to be perfect as they compete amongst others, which could eventually cause a breakdown. They will push themselves so that they could earn this title, as an accomplishment of their hard work in high school.

To solve the problem of awarding multiple valedictorians, high schools should have a subcommittee within their “graduation committee” to choose who the valedictorian should be, based on their citizenship, extracurricular activities, and academics. Having multiple valedictorians tarnishes the meaning of this term; it is not special.

High schools should not allow all students who have maintained straight A’s throughout their high school career to be valedictorian. The other students would be salutatorians, so that they still are recognized for their academic work. Schools can therefore present this title to the “one” person who best represents their class and earned this honor.