Colorado Springs School District 11 will no longer honor valedictorians

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs School District 11 will no longer honor valedictorians. The Board of Education voted on the issue in a meeting Wednesday, May 31.

Many of us still remember who our high school’s valedictorian was. Not only do they give a graduation speech but being ranked top student in the class can be a ticket to scholarships and college acceptance.

But in a 6-1 vote, D11 says this new policy is creating opportunity for everyone.

Board of Education member Jim Mason said “Just because a student did not score academically 2.0 or 3.0 or 4.0 or 5.0 that does not mean that they do not deserve to be recognized.”

Some people in the community think it will make kids lazy.

One Colorado Springs woman who did not want to be named said, “They’ll give up. They won’t work hard anymore. Why should they work hard if they’re giving up all of their time after school every day while other kids are out playing? Those kids get rewarded and they get nothing for that time? Why should they?”

According to the district, right now GPAs can be skewed because some students are taking more difficult classes than others. Not only that, they say by eliminating the valedictorian system, the students who may have been battling for that top spot can now concentrate on just being high school kids.

“We want to recognize our students’ academic achievement and every student from the 5.0 to the 1.0.” Mason said. “There is a ranking. There is no trophy for everyone who participates, no. There is no blending and whitewashing that everybody is the same, no. The world is not like that life is not like that. There are winners and there are losers.”

Now D11 will move toward the Latin Honor System which is what most colleges and universities use. Students are ranked lowest to highest by Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude.

“Those children have got to graduate. They’ve got to get a job. They’ve got to make it to the top of whatever field they’re going into and if they can’t learn how to make it to the top and be rewarded for that in high school, what kind of kids are we going to have in public now?”

Beginning with the 2017 to 2018 freshman class, who graduates in 2021, only honor students will be recognized for a GPA of 3.75 or higher.

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