Published On: Fri, Jun 13th, 2014

Florida school district may end valedictorian and salutatorian titles

The “whatever it takes” and “insane” battle for the top slots as valedictorian and salutatorian may be too much for a Florida school district which may be taking measures to end the designation.

screenshot of South Carolina graduation speech

screenshot of South Carolina graduation speech

The Pasco County School Board in Central Florida is considering the end the academic rankings beginning with next year’s freshman class. Officials say the new system would recognize more students with top grades by using Latin terms signifying honors, high honors and highest honors: cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

The superintendent says the concept of valedictorians and salutatorians is outdated and that many times the difference between the two is hundredths of a point.

“Everything is geared toward getting that title,” said Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning . “Colleges and universities don’t even care who is valedictorian or salutatorian.”

Board member Joanne Hurley, who was initially not a supporter of the idea, said she supports the change. “I truly believe the time has come when we need to recognize more students than two,” Hurley said.

One local community college rewards the elite students. A spokesperson from Pasco-Hernando State College told Tampabay.com that “it pays to be the valedictorian or salutatorian at a local high school. The college gives those students a $2,000-a-year scholarship, which covers almost all the expense of a full course load,” the article states.

“A lot of valedictorians and salutatorians have many offers and opportunities,” spokeswoman Lucy Miller said. “We’re always thrilled when they choose to come to PHSC.”

The same article notes that UNLV has a Valedictorian Scholarship, “which covers almost the full cost of attending and gives students immediate access to the university’s honors college.”

A rep from University of Florida says they do look at the designation and a Rice University admissions office rep pointed to the significance of the class ranking.

Some schools in Pasco already use the Latin designations in addition to naming a valedictorian and salutatorian. Students earn those designations based on weighted grade-point average. For cum laude, the GPA is 3.2 to 3.7999; for magna cum laude, it’s 3.8 to 4.1999; and for summa cum laude, it’s 4.2 or higher.


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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