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(Some Snowflake)   Fairfax County, Virginia schools abandon "valedictorian" in favor of groups of "honor graduates." Reactions range from, "This is a communist system" to "I'm glad I don't have to give a speech."   (fairfaxtimes.com) divider line
    More: Asinine  
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4031 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Jun 2008 at 3:46 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2008-06-14 2:24:31 PM  
God bless the south....

/Any state in the confederacy is the south.
 
2008-06-14 2:38:08 PM  
homerdrew415: God bless the south....

Yes, because that's the only place in the country something this retarded would happen.

Minnesota (^)

Michigan (^)

But please, continue with your stupid comments.
 
2008-06-14 2:38:43 PM  
When all the honor graduates have to get a 4.0, it seems they've earned it well enough to me. I don't see the obsession with being "first," if you're at that high of a level. Surely at a school with that many kids there'd be a tie at the end anyhow?

I suppose if they want to go to the thousandth of a point and then say whoever ties there shares the honor, that'd be fine too.

I will say if the only reason kids are studying is to try to earn those points, they're doing it wrong.
 
2008-06-14 2:52:16 PM  
Considering that becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB classes where the grades are arbitrarily rated at a higher level, so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else, this is actually a fairly sensible thing. "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.
 
2008-06-14 3:08:56 PM  
Not to mention that the mad scramble for IP classes has led to a lot of high schools offering them to say they've offered them, without the classes really being anything equivalent to the similar material offered in an actual college. Some of these places very few kids pass the exams that let them skip the class in college, even, but they're getting the higher-points grades.

Heck, it's recommended some places that if the class is in your major field, it's best not to skip it anyway, as the college versions are more rigorous a lot of the time.

Obviously someone is going to bring up their super amazing high school, but for a lot of high schools, the quality is just not the same.
 
2008-06-14 3:09:45 PM  
Er, make that "AP classes."

/clearly I'm no valedictorian
 
2008-06-14 3:51:04 PM  
Grades don't matter.

That is all.
 
2008-06-14 3:54:31 PM  
Why not just give them all an honorary 4.0 and a participation trophy. This was everyone will feel special because no one is special.
 
2008-06-14 3:54:31 PM  
TFA: The idea is to discourage students from viewing grades as a competition. It could be argued that honoring everyone sets the bar lower, though many agree with the current system.

They have over 20 students with >4.0 GPA - the bar wasn't set lower when they decided to honor all of these students, it was set lower when grade inflation led to dozens of students with grade point averages higher than 4.0.
 
2008-06-14 3:54:32 PM  
When I gradutated, we had 26 students tie for valedictorian. We had AP classes, but the grades were the same.
 
2008-06-14 3:55:46 PM  
who wants to listen to a kid give a speech anyway, he or she isn't old enough to say anything worthwhile.
 
2008-06-14 3:56:54 PM  
homerdrew415

Have you been to Fairfax? Seriously? NObody is from Fairfax.
 
2008-06-14 3:57:27 PM  
Pocket Ninja: becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB ... ...so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else.

This. The valedictorian one year from our school got into Harvard, Yale and Princeton but got rejected by every single UC and Cal State school. Why? because she refused to take the ONE fine/performance art semester required by the California public schools. She took only four classes her junior and senior years -- all AP classes and Boom, got a 5.0. Her PE req for graduation? Bowling at the local community college.

One of the other schools in our district did the 'valedictory circle' and our opinion of them was, 'thin-skinned snot-nosed little cupcakes...' They were the 'wealthy' school and ours was the 'ghetto' school. Funny thing was, we consistently had more students make it into top-25 schools than they did.
 
2008-06-14 3:57:42 PM  
Pocket Ninja: "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.

Isn't that how West Point determines their valedictorian?
 
2008-06-14 3:58:00 PM  
Meh, it would be asinine if they replaced it with something politically correct like, "Self-Esteematorian"
 
2008-06-14 3:58:56 PM  
squirrelinator: homerdrew415

Have you been to Fairfax? Seriously? NObody is from Fairfax.


Lived there 15 years, went to Fairfax High and also TJHSS&T...

/not from there...
 
2008-06-14 3:59:09 PM  
seminole87: who wants to listen to a kid give a speech anyway, he or she isn't old enough to say anything worthwhile.

It's like an 8 year old singing memories.
 
2008-06-14 4:03:28 PM  
Hey now, Fairfax County is rich as shiat, and full of assholes.

Im from Fairfax County, grew up there, went to preschool all the way to high school there.

Funny to see something from my home county on here though.
 
2008-06-14 4:05:24 PM  
itazurakko: Heck, it's recommended some places that if the class is in your major field, it's best not to skip it anyway, as the college versions are more rigorous a lot of the time.

Colleges just put very high standards on the test scores needed to skip rigorous classes. I had to get 5s to skip calculus, chemistry, and physics.

I test well, and my high school had a policy of giving an automatic A in a class that you scored a 5 on the AP for. I didn't do shiat for the whole year and just used that rule to boost my GPA.
 
2008-06-14 4:06:20 PM  
Yeah, we wouldn't want students who earned their high grades to feel in some way rewarded for that!

My high school did away with the superlative of "Most Intellectual" because it would make other kids feel bad. Somehow "Most Attractive" was still okay, along with "Most likely to be famous", "Most likely to be late to class" and "Most athletic".
 
2008-06-14 4:06:25 PM  
I went to a high school in the South. I graduated in 1990 and we did not have a valedictorian. We recognized the top 5%. I don't know if this adds to the conversation or not. Thanks, enjoy your stay

//Oh well
 
2008-06-14 4:08:51 PM  
John Dewey: Grades don't matter.

high school doesn't matter
 
2008-06-14 4:08:55 PM  
Minerva8918: Hey now, Fairfax County is rich as shiat, and full of assholes.

Im from Fairfax County, grew up there, went to preschool all the way to high school there.

Funny to see something from my home county on here though.


You generally don't want your hometown showing up on Fark.
 
2008-06-14 4:09:09 PM  
UnoriginalAndrew: Yeah, we wouldn't want students who earned their high grades to feel in some way rewarded for that!

Aren't the grades reward enough? They are rewards themselves. So we're rewarding getting more rewards then other people...makes sense to me. This sounds more "nanny state" to me then what most of the rest of you are saying is.
 
2008-06-14 4:09:52 PM  
Pocket Ninja - Considering that becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB classes where the grades are arbitrarily rated at a higher level, so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else, this is actually a fairly sensible thing. "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.


I was under the impression that they were looking for industrious young men and women with the entrepreneurial savvy to throw a party bringing their wealthy young friends together with prostitutes in order to raise the capital to repair their parents' high-priced water-logged automobiles.
 
2008-06-14 4:10:12 PM  
1995, we didn't have a valedictorian. Wasn't reflective, or so they said, with the weighted classes out there. They recognized the 30 or so (from a class of 500ish) who got a 4.0+. Anyone could try out to be class speaker and the principal and class sponsor picked one. Seemed to work out well.

College (small class of 125ish) we did have a valedictorian.
 
2008-06-14 4:11:10 PM  
Silly snowflakes. Off my lawn!

/not really
 
2008-06-14 4:12:02 PM  
I just wanted graduation to end as quickly as possible so I'd never have to see most of those people again.
 
2008-06-14 4:12:20 PM  
There should be no such thing as a GPA above 4.0

The problem is that an A is not what an A used to be. Remember when:

A Outstanding ( about the top 10% or better )
B Above average ( the next 20% )
C Average ( the middle 40% )
D Below average ( the next 20% )
E Failing ( the bottom 10% )

Now it looks more like this:

A Top third
B Middle third
C Bottom third
D Raised to C upon gripe by parent or student
F Parent removes student, student quitsw, or student expelled.
 
2008-06-14 4:12:50 PM  
we had the same kind of deal where anyone with above a 100 average was Valedictorian and their transcripts ranked them as #1, then the 99s all had the same rank, and so on. Our speeches were like a contest and who ever won that got to sit on stage with the 100+ average people. I thought it worked out well.
 
2008-06-14 4:13:21 PM  
technicolor-misfit: Pocket Ninja - Considering that becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB classes where the grades are arbitrarily rated at a higher level, so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else, this is actually a fairly sensible thing. "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.


I was under the impression that they were looking for industrious young men and women with the entrepreneurial savvy to throw a party bringing their wealthy young friends together with prostitutes in order to raise the capital to repair their parents' high-priced water-logged automobiles.


Princeton could use a man like that.

/thinking of rebecca demornay on the train
//and now I have to go
 
2008-06-14 4:13:36 PM  
Pocket Ninja: Considering that becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB classes where the grades are arbitrarily rated at a higher level, so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else, this is actually a fairly sensible thing. "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.

Agreed except for those two parts. Not everyone is athletically inclined, and academics should weigh far more than being involved in every Future Generic Careers of America club and winning the popularity contest that is Student Council.

FWIW, the valedictorian is going to Community College. She's a brilliant mind though. And for more irony, the kid who considers himself the end-all be-all of everything academics is going to a SUNY school, which are ridiculously easy to get into.

seminole87: who wants to listen to a kid give a speech anyway, he or she isn't old enough to say anything worthwhile.

This. The worst part about Public Speaking classes is actually having to hear people speak.
 
2008-06-14 4:14:35 PM  
squirrelinator: homerdrew415

Have you been to Fairfax? Seriously? NObody is from Fairfax.


I'm from Fairfax, and my HS had 13 'valedictorians' with the top banana being some asian grind whose speech was about how we were all lazy slobs etc. etc.

itazurakko: Not to mention that the mad scramble for IP classes has led to a lot of high schools offering them to say they've offered them, without the classes really being anything equivalent to the similar material offered in an actual college. Some of these places very few kids pass the exams that let them skip the class in college, even, but they're getting the higher-points grades.


Why not make the extra GPA based on an AP-style test result?
 
2008-06-14 4:16:40 PM  
My undergrad had an award winner voted by the trustees and faculty give a speech. Really high grades were essential, but so was huge involvement in extra curricular activities and student government involvement and stuff like that.

It's much better than my high school. There's been years where there's multiple people with straight A's and they end breaking ties by knocking out people who took a fun non-advanced class like woodworking or ones who took Health and PE before their senior year.
 
2008-06-14 4:18:09 PM  
Valedictorian was just someone voted on by the students to give a humorous speech at my shool

I had no problem with that, I still got awarded for things like top marks, extra curricular, etc. In fact I will say I preferred not giving a speech because the guy who did was a friend who delivered a good short speech


Why would you do it any other way?
 
2008-06-14 4:18:46 PM  
TexasPeace: There should be no such thing as a GPA above 4.0

The problem is that an A is not what an A used to be. Remember when:

A Outstanding ( about the top 10% or better )
B Above average ( the next 20% )
C Average ( the middle 40% )
D Below average ( the next 20% )
E Failing ( the bottom 10% )

Now it looks more like this:

A Top third
B Middle third
C Bottom third
D Raised to C upon gripe by parent or student
F Parent removes student, student quitsw, or student expelled.


You should see graduate school. C+ is a failing grade. Also they won't give you a diploma without a 3.5 GPA.
 
2008-06-14 4:19:00 PM  
They should just do away with the valedictorian speech. I graduated high school four years ago and the speech was one of the worst things I had ever heard, because as seminole87 said, kids that age very rarely have anything worthwhile to say. The valedictorian in my class was extremely book smart, but lacked any common sense (in a senior year AP class he once said pink lemonade came from pink lemons). He made some stupid speech about going to the amusement park just him and his sister and locking their keys in the car. I practically fell asleep.
 
Xoc
2008-06-14 4:19:34 PM  
Last week, I went to a graduation ceremony where there were 20 "valedictorians," and about 15 "salutatorians." I can barely understand having that many first place finishers, but having any second place finishers is just stupid. Instead of a speech, they each said one sentence. This is from a school system that preaches that competition is bad. Since when did "competition" become a dirty word in the United States?
 
2008-06-14 4:19:59 PM  
People that can pretend they are smart will always have an appreciate audience.

Hence these posts.
 
2008-06-14 4:20:33 PM  
Everybody in my high school class graduated "with honors". That's right. We all wore those stupid gold sashes, even though most of us didn't earn them.

At least the veledictorian was still something to strive for.
Oh wait, one snowflake cried and fussed about the fact that 4th year Latin was considered an honors class, but Spanish wasn't, making her GPA lower.

Some would say she should have thought her plan through a little bit and taken Latin, but that's not how it works in politically correct world. So they made her "co-valedictorian" even though she didn't have the grades to qualify. Man, I love that hippie BS.

/ Spanish is a way more useful language than latin, but not as hard to learn.
// How do you say, "no pickles on my burger" in Latin?
 
2008-06-14 4:20:57 PM  
Is this along the lines of the "everybody wins" mentality that's turned everybody into pussies?

I'd pass on graduation and go to a concert.
 
2008-06-14 4:21:03 PM  
supertoad: John Dewey: Grades don't matter.

high school doesn't matter


Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
to me
any way the wind blows
 
2008-06-14 4:21:22 PM  
It's high school, after the graduation ceremony, it's not going to matter. When you apply for a job, your boss isn't going to care about your 4.0 average (mostly because he'll be one of those who will say, "Big deal, grade inflation, your 4.0 is about equal to a 2.0 in my day."). The only person who's really going to care is the college admins when they view your college application.
 
2008-06-14 4:25:01 PM  
Tarkus31: When I gradutated, we had 26 students tie for valedictorian. We had AP classes, but the grades were the same.

We had three, all the same grades, all taking five AP courses, so the administration decided to go with the least days absent

We still had a tie
 
2008-06-14 4:25:10 PM  
Xoc: Last week, I went to a graduation ceremony where there were 20 "valedictorians," and about 15 "salutatorians." I can barely understand having that many first place finishers, but having any second place finishers is just stupid. Instead of a speech, they each said one sentence. This is from a school system that preaches that competition is bad. Since when did "competition" become a dirty word in the United States?

Because in competition, there has to be a loser, and no one likes to be the loser, it might hurt the loser's self esteem.
 
2008-06-14 4:26:42 PM  
itazurakko: Not to mention that the mad scramble for IP classes has led to a lot of high schools offering them to say they've offered them, without the classes really being anything equivalent to the similar material offered in an actual college. Some of these places very few kids pass the exams that let them skip the class in college, even, but they're getting the higher-points grades.

While it is true that not all AP classes are in fact particularly rigorous, in theory at least they are required to submit a syllabus to the College Board to use the AP ™ designation. However, honors classes aren't regulated like this; at the school I just left, we had an "honors French literature" class that took the AP French Lit test, but couldn't be AP because it was self-study and the teacher wasn't technically qualified to teach it. She was a fantastic teacher, but not an AP ™ French Lit teacher.

/Graduated "High honors" - no Valedictorians in California either
//Took only the AP classes that interested me, so I only had something like a 3.9
 
2008-06-14 4:27:37 PM  
Its just ink on paper and frivelous shows of nonsensical emotion.


NEXT!
 
2008-06-14 4:27:45 PM  
AnnoyingKidNextDoor: Pocket Ninja: Considering that becoming a valedictorian nowadays is more about front-loading AP and IB classes where the grades are arbitrarily rated at a higher level, so it becomes more about who's the more clever scheduler than anything else, this is actually a fairly sensible thing. "Valedictorian" should be more than just about grades, anyway. The title should reflect all-around achievement...athletics, extra-curriculars, volunteer activities, etc., which is what colleges are increasingly looking for, anyway.

Agreed except for those two parts. Not everyone is athletically inclined, and academics should weigh far more than being involved in every Future Generic Careers of America club and winning the popularity contest that is Student Council.


Valedictorian should not be all about that extraneous crap. I look at it this way, if Stephen Hawking was put into High School for 4 years and ended up in 7th place in the race to be valedictorian...theres something wrong with that race.
 
2008-06-14 4:28:09 PM  
Screw them. If you're the best, you're the best.

/Was stuck being "Class Representative".
//I use "Valedictorian" when I tell people.
///If the truth hurts, GOOD.
 
2008-06-14 4:28:51 PM  
UnoriginalAndrew: Yeah, we wouldn't want students who earned their high grades to feel in some way rewarded for that!

The issue is that hordes of kids are tying for the top spot.

rancid weasel: Why not make the extra GPA based on an AP-style test result?

Why not have actual college entrance exams?

ThatFoolMatt: we had the same kind of deal where anyone with above a 100 average was Valedictorian and their transcripts ranked them as #1, then the 99s all had the same rank, and so on. Our speeches were like a contest and who ever won that got to sit on stage with the 100+ average people. I thought it worked out well.

Some places do that because they realize that "valedictorian" is kinda meaningless in comparing two people from different schools. If you go to one of the schools where the graduating class has a whopping 10 people in it and you happen to be brightest among them, doesn't mean you'd compete similarly in an urban school where the class is 500 kids (just due to odds).

I honestly don't know anywhere that gives a shiat about valedictorian anyway. It's nice for the ceremony, but when it comes to college, it's about what grades did you get for what classes, and even more importantly, how well you do your freshman year.

Personally I think if you care too much about grades for the sake of grades, you're doing it wrong. Do you actually understand the material enough to go to the next level? That's what matters. I don't deny that tests and grades can help determine that, but they're only a tool.

The one time I EVER had anything to do with teaching US undergraduates, I thought the whiny snowflake grade-grubbing and begging for points for MEANINGLESS shiat because "I'm an A student!" or "but I'm pre-med, I need this!" would drive me insane. Needless to say, I didn't get good reviews.
 
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