Miley Araujo, Reporter

Advanced Placement courses and some of the dual enrollment pathway courses are designed to help students get ahead by offering more credits per class based on the extra rigor of the course.
Many pathways are designed to guide students into future professions, and for years, students in pathways have been succeeding in school with the given extra opportunities.
However, their access to educational options seems to be expanding as there is talk of valedictorian eligibility leaning only toward students in augmented classes. Not in a pathway? Well, it could be near impossible to qualify for valedictorian if you are not.
During the registration process, pathway students are more prioritized than non-pathway students even though many non-pathway students are just as capable at learning and working hard. But to be considered for valedictorian, seniors are expected to have an exceedingly high GPA and rooted in a pathway to be eligible.
I feel this excludes a large majority of hardworking students. Being in a pathway has many advantages and there seems to be no limits, but what about students who don’t choose to pursue a career as early as high school?
Having a variety of careers to choose from at the end of high school is the freedom and opportunity some people want. And there’s no shame in wanting to figure it out at your own pace. The idea that one has to be in a pathway to get recognition and consideration for valedictorian is very limiting and harsh to everyone who works hard.
Many students have shown to excel and thrive in academic settings without being in a pathway. Taking Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, and ROP classes augment the GPA and put pathway kids in higher rank overall, bumping them up on the list for valedictorian accessibility.
But not being in a pathway, and taking harder classes with extracurricular activities is just as impressive, if not equally challenging, as the courses offered in pathway classes. A lot of time and commitment goes into sports, community activism and other non-academic experiences making a better, well-rounded student overall.
There’s also the possibility of too much emphasis on pathway students alone. There should be room for equality for everyone based on more than academics.
It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to be valedictorian, and being in a pathway and having an augmented GPA should not determine the spot.
The main factor, instead, should be who earns it with involvement in extracurriculars, community service, scholarships and overall exceptional grades.