More High Schools Are Honoring Multiple Valedictorians

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"Let us in!" Photo: Getty Images

Traditionally, most high schools give only one student the coveted honor of being crowned valedictorian, but more high schools are now offering the title to multiple, equally high-achieving students, either in a bid to get more kids into prestigious colleges, or just because there are more overachievers out there today. Take, for instance, the creative valedictorians from Jericho High School, who have created a group skit to perform at graduation:


"The seven [valedictorians] will perform a 10-minute skit titled '2010: A Jericho Odyssey,' about their collective experience at this high-achieving Long Island high school, finishing up with 30 seconds each to say a few words to their classmates and families."

This trend is nationwide: Stratford High School, in the suburbs of Houston, had 30 valedictorians last year, Cherry Hill High School in southern New Jersey had 9, St. Vrain Valley in Colorado had 94 within its district. Don Haddad, the superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley district said: "We have not lowered the bar to achieve more valedictorians. More kids now are getting over the bar." On the other hand, "It's honor inflation," said an outraged Chris Healy, an associate professor at Furman University.

Regardless of the motivations behind this trend, most of these groups of valedictorians would probably be getting into good colleges even without the title. Even the Harvard admissions dean admits the honor is a bit of "an anachronism," anyway.

'How Many Graduates Does It Take to Be No. 1?' [NYT]