Saturday, June 17, 2006

everybody's a winner?

Robinson secondary (junior and senior) high school in northern Virginia's Fairfax County had dozens of "valedictorians" at its recent graduation. The principal said it's because in a school like Robinson (which even has its own Wikipedia entry) with nearly 700 graduating seniors, it would be unfair to limit recognition to one valedictorian. Not to pick only on Robinson -- other schools do the same in the region, although practice varies by school district.

Lame. One valedictorian is enough. Having a 4.0+ GPA isn't a terribly miraculous event in this day of grade inflation and bonuses to the GPA as reward/incentive for taking advanced placement classes. You CAN recognize other good students -- that's called the honor roll.

Does each and every valedictorian at Robinson deliver a valedictory address? THAT would make for a marathon graduation ceremony.

Some schools in the region have gone the other direction -- eliminating the valedictorian and salutorian, to relieve the (no doubt college-admission induced) pressure and competition among students for those slots. A bit lame, but better to cancel the race than to make it meaningless by overly-generous use of the V-word.