The Value of a Valedictorian

Many high achievers in high school are determined to gain the prestigious title of valedictorian. This honor is a validation of all their hard work, proof of being number one and rightfully deserving so, but the title has been glorified and blown out of proportion. While the argument on the worth of a valedictorian is nothing new, it is only recently that I have begun to see this topic in a new light. At my school’s senior graduation, much controversy surrounded the Class of 2014’s valedictorian. She was a hardworking student, but nearly everyone agreed that she should not be valedictorian. She took as many elective AP classes as she could but shied away from the academic AP classes.

The salutatorian had a much more academically rigorous schedule, and her difficult coursework ended up hurting her GPA slightly. However, it was enough to cost her the title of number one. While the circumstance at my school seems dissapointing, it should actually give future valedictorian candidates relief. The title means nothing. Valedictorians are measured on GPA and nothing else.

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Some students have a much busier schedule outside of school and have less time to study while others take more difficult courses and earn a couple of B’s. When students start repeating classes just to change a grade of B to an A, the whole point of going to school is lost. The glorification of being valedictorian has encouraged students to obsess over grades instead of focusing on getting as much as they can out of a class. Without the worry of becoming valedictorian, students will have a better learning experience. They will be more willing to challenge themselves and not get so discouraged and quit after one bad grade. If schools do not award the title of valedictorian, more students will strive for their personal best instead of comparing themselves to others.