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Many high schools across America are abandoning the long-held graduation tradition of awarding the top academic student with the distinction of valedictorian.

While some schools are doing away with the designation altogether, others are crowning multiple valedictorians, based on achieving a certain benchmark.

Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, crowned 117 valedictorians in 2015, more than a quarter of the graduating class. Moreover, all 117 graduates shared the No. 1 rank, based on having achieved a grade-point average of 4.0 or better.

As Carolyn Thompson of the Associated Press wrote last week, half of the nation's high schools no longer report class rankings to colleges and universities.

Thompson paraphrases Bob Farace, spokesman for the National Association of Secondary School Principles, saying high school administrators are concerned with college prospects for students separated by large differences in class rankings, but small differences in grade-point averages.

Thompson writes that "concerns about intense, potentially unhealthy competition and students letting worries about rank drive their course selections,” has led to a decade-long decline among high schools crowning single valedictorians.

Raleigh, North Carolina's News & Observer reported last May that the state's Wake County School Board voted to stop naming valedictorians and salutatorians by 2019. Tom Benton, a school board chairman, told the News & Observer:

“We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy. Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to. Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans.”

In May, school board members of Greater Clark County Schools in Indiana voted to drop the valedictorian designation, choosing instead to designate cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude — based on achievement of GPA benchmarks.

The board had previously proposed honoring the top ten percent of each graduating class, fearing the quest to become valediction has become too competitive. Parents and students opposed to the change derided it as presenting students with little more than a “participation trophy.”

View Comments(10 comments)
Nick(3 likes)At first I was outraged by this, but after reading the article I would agree with the logic. They are not saying to get rid of ranking. There will still be a 3.9 GPA and a 4.0 GPA. The 4.0 GPA will be the to 1% which still shows their excelence in society and informs us that they are the most important to nuture with funding and direction. This is a much better then only nuturing the 0.01% that is the top student. The differences between this person and the rest of the top 1% would start to become arbitrary as they struggled for even the tiniest advantage over their peers such as taking AP History, when they really just want to be a marine biologist. This adds extra unnecessary stress to these students and sometimes does not even benift them. Istead they could put their efforts into student goverment, community outreach, part time employment, or other beneficial experiences. Before you say that we are coddling our youth I want you to remember how hard it is to get an A in a class and then fathom how hard it is to get in A in ever class for four years. That should be enough of a bench mark we need to determine who are the hardest working and most intelegent of our youth. We have the resources to nuture all of the top 1%, why limit ourselves as a society to only supporting the 0.01%.
blueangelWTF??? This is Absolutely Pathetic!! So, now Good & Hard Working Students will receive Nothing more than a Damn "Participation Award"??? I guess this Crap, Obviously from the Liberals, is because SO Many Immigrants in our Schools start out Not Speaking Our Country's "English" Language & they don't want to Upset any of them!!?? Smdh 
@rgcomegaDespoiling the education system is the same thing Hitler did in the 1930's. Indoctrinate the childen who then began informing on their own parents so they cna be "ealth with" by the State. Primary Democrat Principle: poison children's minds with leftist propagnada, destroy the educaltional system, rewrite history (latest example start with outlawing the confederate flag, now destroying confederate statues, as if the the Civil War never existed). What's next?Even China, No. Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, the Congo....thousands of other places no one wants to live have "competition." Apparently that's where we're headed. America ruined without firing a shot! How nobel!It's long past time that something was done about the brain dead morons who have their hands on our children polluting their minds every day. And it's up to us, we the people, because our politicians simply don't have the spine. Start with the schoold boards, then go for the unions and administration. To kill a snake, cut off its head.