About 6 weeks into the 9th grade school year, it's usually pretty obvious who the class's valedictorian is going to be in four years.
I knew after about Day 2 there was no way I'd land the spot after sitting behind the girl who would ultimately become ours in Biology. I think she's like a quadruple doctor now and her pastime is earning degrees.
I did go on to receive a "Distinguished Honors Diploma," but there was nothing distinguished about it ... it wasn't announced! Sure it was in those annoying little pamphlets they pass out to the family members (and even then it was merely symbolized by ** after my name), but who reads those? The janitors, that's who. The guests are too busy using them to flap a breeze because it's so friggin' hot in there. If it's not announced and you can gloatingly proudly walk across that stage, then who cares?
So in an attempt to motivate children everywhere, school districts in Chicago are starting to eliminate the whole valedictorian/salutatorian titles.
Instead of having just two places of honor, they're inducting a university-style ranking system: Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Cum Laude. So, as long as you have the GPA, you have the honor. And assuming they'll continue with the collegiate idea, students will be fully recognized for their hard work with brightly colored stoles.
Now, I'm sure those kids are working hard not so they can don the colors but so they can get into good schools, get good jobs, blah blah blah. Which is true. But nothing's wrong with a little reward at the end of four hard years, am I right? And if kids know that they'll be rewarded with some sort of recognition at the end of it, it may push them just a bit more. Sally may figure that, since there's no way she'll get valedictorian or salutatorian, why should she put in more effort than Janice, who spends her time in the classroom doodling on her notebook? She'll still receive the same diploma as Janice, and both will graduate the exact same way.
With this new system, more kids will be recognized for their hard work. How can you go wrong with that?
What do you think of eliminating the valedictorian and salutatorian honors?
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