We are concerned Marysville High School alumnae. We are Marysville citizens who pay property taxes to support our schools, and we celebrate the academic achievements of the MHS Class of 2017 with its 28 valedictorians. Therein is our concern, too many valedictorians. Last year’s class had 35; therefore, we see these numbers as evidence of a policy that we think needs revision.
According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word “valedictorian,” is from a Latin noun, “the student who delivers the valedictory at graduation.” Additional investigation from Google provides this more specific meaning: “a student who has the highest academic achievement of the class.” Together these two definitions establish criteria for honoring the best of the best. With 28 valedictorians for the MHS Class of 2017, the esteem of the award becomes diluted. How does this dilution relate to the realities of life? Simply, not everyone will receive the prize, whether it be an internship, job assignment or grants in aid without the without the required careful planning and hard work. We alumni had to endure the challenge of life’s trip-ups. Thus, we think that the valedictorian policy that governed our classes’ number-one top student needs to return.
So, do we expect to listen to multiple addresses, perhaps as many as 50, at commencement? No. The priority is for each graduate to proudly walk across that stage and receive the audience’s congratulations. Therefore, we propose some solutions. First, after seven semesters of required Ohio Department of Education coursework and Advanced Placement/college classes, the highest grade point average is the valedictorian while the remaining students with a 4.15 GPA or better are acknowledging students’ academic achievement: cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude, which all appear currently in the commencement program. Lastly, the final solution is a more elevated bar of performance. To meet this elevated bar of performance, a student must decide early in his/her high school career that to be valedictorian he/she must make course choice to accomplish this challenge.
By writing this letter, we in no way wish to detract from the MHS Class of 2017 and its achievements; however, for future students of MHS, we encourage the character-building traits that have made the Marysville Exempted Village School District and MHS models of academic rigor within our central Ohio area and beyond. Furthermore, as a community richly unique in its history, diversity and philanthropy, we listen intently to all views before making decisions. Please, readers, share your thoughts in the Dear Editor forum, which the Journal-Tribune provides.
Judi Green, Class of ‘64
Luanne Frysinger, Class of ‘82