Freshmen Voice

Should students in augmented courses/pathways be the only ones who qualify to be valedictorian?

The valedictorian award is an accomplishment that recognizes a student or students at the top of their class.
It is known as the highest degree of academic achievement. At Sanger High School our Career Technical Education program has given students great opportunities to enter into different pathway fields that help students get a head start in their chosen area of study.
The way that these pathways are set up allow students in high school to take college courses which in turn may augment their GPA. This contributes to the decision making process of the valedictorian position.
However we need to stay focused on the idea that the valedictorian is meant to be the highest degree of academic excellence despite the specific order or process of getting through high school with good grades, which is why all students should be able to qualify for valedictorian not just pathway students.
One problem students may run into with not being in a pathway is that first, pathway spots are limited.
Due to this conflict some students who may want to go into a pathway may not be able to if the pathway spots get filled too fast. Secondly, our high school does not have all areas of study as a pathway option.
It is not reasonable for us to punish students from qualifying for an award because we aren’t giving options that will benefit them.
Connecting to that, there is no purpose for a student that would like to go into software engineering for them to take a biomedical pathway just to receive the valedictorian honor.
With this idea we would be doing a disservice to our students and setting them up for a failure in their field of study.
Again, I would like to reiterate that the purpose behind a valedictorian student is to recognize a student who has put in the effort to be at the top of their class, and hold the highest degree of academic excellence.
The purpose is not to diminish students’ intelligence and effort because they may have chosen a different path that will help them in a different way.
Regardless of pathway status or field of study it is an academic success which should be recognized, so I believe that all students should be allowed to pursue and qualify for the valedictorian honor their senior year.