Every year at graduation, students are congratulated for their best accomplishment to date: graduating high school. Those who work hard in school should be awarded for their dedication to their education. Within the next few years, the award to whomever works the hardest in their class and achieves the highest GPA — the Valedictorian — may be removed. This tradition dates back for years and is a position of high honor and prestige. While the reasoning behind this may be solid, it is still not a good idea to remove the whole award.
Throughout the year, athletes are constantly praised for their accomplishments: winning the State Championship, being picked for the All State team, winning that game against their rivals, etc. However, some students do not participate in sports, but instead work quietly and vigorously to manage their school work. There are very few times where academics are recognized at this school, and graduation is one of those few times when those who have achieved a great deal academically can be recognized for their hard work. Athletes would be extremely discouraged if we took away the State tournament, the All State team honors, or other honors that can be given to athletes. By taking away the Valedictorian, we are essentially doing the same to all those studious individuals striving to graduate at the top of their class.
Yes, it can be understood that paying for online classes in the summer can give students an unfair advantage. While the race to becoming Valedictorian has been transformed with the emergence of online summer classes, it can be restored to what it once was by just removing these credits from a student’s GPA. It does not make sense to remove all the accomplishments of these hard working students because of new educational opportunities.
This kind of competition can act as a motivation to those who want to strive academically. In life, if you are not the best, you are made aware of that. If we remove this position of honor, it simply will coddle other students. Many colleges use class ranks to determine enrollment; we already don’t have that. If we remove this other academic standing, it can almost be seen as sheltering children from the truth of how well they are doing.
If the Valedictorian is removed from the graduation process, it is taking away a part of a high school tradition. We should attempt to fix the issue at hand, online classes, rather than remove the whole award. With our ever-changing world, some traditions are set in stone, and we should treat the position of Valedictorian as something that is meant to withstand the test of time.