Lack of Recognition Hurts Fauquier Scholars

Being named valedictorian can only help a student, not hurt them

Harper Crater, Lifestyle Editor

During our high school years, we run ourselves ragged whilst doing our best to make A’s, play sports, and be involved with the community; it only makes sense we should be recognized for our efforts. There are three public high schools in Fauquier county and none of them recognize a valedictorian.

The title of valedictorian is, usually, appointed to the student in the graduating class with the highest grade point average. Don’t be fooled, this is an academically based and highly prestigious award. Being awarded the title of valedictorian is a feat in itself; it means that four years of studying and taking advanced placement classes paid off in the long run. On a college application the words “class of 2017 valedictorian” means serious consideration and possible academic scholarships. Instead of recognizing the top student, some schools recognize the top ten percent of the graduating class. Yes, this is a better alternative than not recognizing any students, but it simply isn’t the same as recognizing the student at the pinnacle of academic success.

High schools across the country have begun to do away with the tradition of recognizing a valedictorian. Many think that discontinuing this tradition benefits students; however, is actually hurting us. High school is designed to provide students with skills to survive and be successful in the real world, academically and mentally. If schools cease to recognize a valedictorian for reasons such as “it might hurt other students’ feelings” or “make another student feel bad about his or her GPA,” the school system is actually doing us a disservice. The real world doesn’t account for hurt feelings; it doesn’t give participation awards. The real world is just that: real. It rewards those who work hard and surpass standards set by previous generations.

Appointing a valedictorian at graduation gives students an academic goal to aspire to. From the first day of freshman year to the last day of senior year students strive to succeed and to be proud of the work they do. If students walk into high school knowing there is a possibility of becoming valedictorian, students will work harder to improve their scores and to do well in their classes.

Arguments have been made against appointing a valedictorian, saying it increases “competition between students” and “encourages perfectionism,” but competition isn’t a foreign concept for students who play sports, take advanced placement classes, or have been forced to participate in gym. As for perfectionism, if a task demands it, why would students give anything less?

In all fairness, the county probably had its reasons for giving the valedictorian tradition the boot, but they kicked the award years ago. It’s time Kettle Run, and other Fauquier high schools, recognize the student ending their high school career with the greatest academic achievement of their class, because after all of the hard work they put into their academics, they deserve to be recognized in such a way.