High Schools Abandon Valedictorian Because Competition is Bad

Everyone gets a trophy!

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, nearly half of high schools in the United States no longer report class rank, the Associated Press reports. The graduation tradition of naming a senior class valedictorian is slowly fading into history. In areas where the tradition continues, more students are being named head of the class. 

The reason is because administrators are increasingly concerned about “unhealthy competition” and students feeling pressure to perform better than their peers. They believe there’s too much stress involved when often times only subtle differences separate the top ten students and, say, the one that falls into 11th place. For this reason, many schools are adopting Latin honors observed by colleges and naming summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude students.

The report notes that colleges are having to adjust to this new trend but still ask for class rank if it’s available. 

“We are encouraged by any movement that helps students understand that they’re more than a score, that they’re more than a rank,” said Dana Monogue, the assistant superintendent for the Elmbrook School District in Wisconsin.

In Tennessee, a magnet school in Rutherford County awarded 48 valedictorians this year, or 25% of the graduating class, notes the AP. The title was awarded to anyone with a 4.0 average and no less than 12 honors courses.

A high school in Columbia, Maryland, ranked the students but kept the results private to each student. Of course, the students couldn’t keep quiet about where they landed. Two seniors from Hammond High School said that was all everyone talked about.

“It made everything 10 times more competitive,” one added.

Some parents don’t like the competition, either, saying the students place too much emphasis on rankings and can lead to negative perceptions of themselves.

Welcome to snowflake country, where everyone gets a trophy.

Photo credit: ratterrell via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND