Validictorians coming to a halt


Sanderson High School is celebrating its 50 year anniversary, but one thing is lacking that has been present for the previous years—a class valedictorian.  Since this controversial decision was made in 2016 by Wake County, it has both negatively and positively affected the students of Sanderson. Nonetheless, each former recipient from 1968 to 2018 deserves recognition for their tireless work in order to receive the title of valedictorian.

The valedictorian of a class is the student with the best academic record who will typically deliver a valedictory speech at the commencement ceremony. In 2016, the Wake County school board voted to stop naming valedictorians due to the unhealthy competition that the title creates. When asked about the decision, Wake County school board Chairman Tom Benton stated, “We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy.” He continued, “Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans.”

Others think this decision was a bad idea on Wake County’s part. These people believe current students should have the same opportunities former students had. Emma Goodwin, valedictorian of Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy’s 2018 class, commented on the matter saying, “Not giving other students that opportunity is going to be sad for them because it is something that builds a competition and it is such a long standing tradition.”

Teachers across the country weighed in on the decision. Sanderson teacher Ashley Taylor stated, “I see what they’re trying to do, because it singles people out, but I think that it’s okay to be singled out sometimes, especially if you have had that much academic achievement.”

Wake County would like to start implementing the Latin honors system to recognize the class of 2019 graduates’ GPAs. Seniors with a weighted grade-point average of 4.25 or higher will graduate summa cum laude. Seniors with a weighted GPA of 4.0 to 4.249 will finish magna cum laude. Finally, seniors with a GPA of 3.75 to 3.99 will graduate cum laude.

Sanderson’s tradition of valedictorian may be coming to an end, but there is still much to look forward to for the many years to come.