Top of the Class

Valedictorians, salutatorians and how they work here at LHS

   The distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian is the highest academic achievement in high school. The only requirement to be a valedictorian is to maintain a 4.0 GPA for all four years and salutatorian means that a student may not have anything more than one B across their four years of high school. At LHS, there is always more than one valedictorian and salutatorian as the school does not operate on a weighted scale.

   “There are many valedictorians and salutatorians,” receptionist and A+ administrative assistant Jane Wolfley said. “However, If classes were graded on a weighted scale system, that would most likely make a difference in the number of valedictorians and salutatorians we have here.”

   There are two ways that schools name valedictorians and salutatorians. One way is to pick everyone who meets the requirements to be a valedictorian or salutatorian and name those people for the graduating class. The other way to do it is by taking into account what classes the students with the best grades take, resulting in only one valedictorian and salutatorian. LHS names every eligible student for the valedictorian and salutatorian awards resulting in multiple students per award. 

   An argument for having multiple valedictorians and salutatorians is that it decreases competitiveness among classmates and helps the students in college admissions by letting them show colleges that they were a valedictorian or salutatorian. An argument against having multiple valedictorians and salutatorians is that it means that there is no true “best in class” and removes a lot of the exclusivity of the award.

   “I think it’s exciting that I’ve been able to do so well in school,” senior and valedictorian Claire Manuel said. “I think the title represents all the hard work I’ve put in.

I think the title represents all the hard work I’ve put in.

— Claire Manuel

    The U.S. alone has around 27,000 high schools, public and private, meaning there are about 27,000 valedictorians in the U.S. and about another 27,000 salutatorians.

   “I’m a perfectionist, so I never wanted to get anything below an A in my classes,” Manuel said.

   While being valedictorian seems like a very big distinction, many people may think that it’s more rewarding to take challenging classes instead of easy classes to become a valedictorian or salutatorian. 

   “Always try your hardest in school, but don’t make becoming valedictorian your goal,” Manuel said. “It’s just a title and it’s not worth putting that much stress on yourself for. It’s okay to make mistakes.”

   The valedictorians and salutatorians will be announced during graduation on May 15 at 11 AM at the Cable Dahmer Arena. Each graduating student will receive seven tickets to give away for the event.