One of high school’s most celebrated traditions – crowning valedictorian and salutatorian – may soon come to an end in Wake County.
Instead, school board members have proposed adopting three levels of achievement: summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude, much like in college. These levels are Latin for “with praise,” “with great praise,” and “with highest praise,” and would range from a GPA of 3.75 to 3.99, 4.0 to 4.249 and 4.25+ respectively.
There are multiple reasons for the proposed change. Some claim the competition to be first within large schools can be too stressful and even a health threat to students. Also, large schools where top students’ GPAs are very close together can be forced to name several valedictorians. Creating one general level like summa cum laude can avoid this.
Nine out of nine school board members must approve this change before it can be effected. So far, the odds are looking good as seven members were present and each one approved it in the last meeting.
Johnston County schools switched to the tripled-tiered Latin system after a meeting in August, making the class of 2017 the last valedictorians and salutatorians to be recognized.
If Wake County ends valedictorian and salutatorian it will only affect the class of 2019 and later, meaning current freshmen and younger.
Many Broughton students have heard of the potential changes, and opinions on it vary.
“I would definitely be for it because it would allow more people to be recognized for their achievements,” freshman Abby Singleton said. “I want to be recognized even though I might not be the smartest student,” added freshman Peyton Creekmore.
Broughton also strongly values tradition, making other students see these changes as a threat to our customs.
“It would feel less traditional so I probably wouldn’t like it,” freshman Colton Burchett said.
Class rank would remain unaffected since colleges across the nation often require it for the admissions process. Some students believe that though the official titles of valedictorian and salutatorian maybe be gone, the idea and prestige of them will live on.
“The only difference is that graduation is gonna be shorter because there will be less speeches. It doesn’t really matter because you still know your rank and everyone will still know who’s first and second in the class,” sophomore Elizabeth Rotchford said.
Until the next school board meeting with every member present, the future of valedictorian is unknown.