Valedictorian removal is foolish

Countless hours valuably spent studying for tests, a few all-nighters down the line, an ambitious spirit flourishes throughout high school, and achieves the highly-competitive award of valedictorian. This award is recognized worldwide by universities and educators, and can lead to unique opportunities.  

Imagine their surprise learning that this title was eliminated. Consider this year’s freshmen, sophomores, and juniors eagerly working for this accomplishment, only to realize that it is no longer an attainable possibility.   

As graduation season rolls around, it seems as if schools are retiring acknowledging terms that could differentiate students academically.

The Chandler Unified School District agrees with this movement, and chose to eliminate these titles starting next year. This drastic decision was made to set a standard of equality among students.

“I see both sides to it. But it’s a decision that all principals…agreed on,” principal Dan Serrano explains. He then added that this decision was made years prior, but was not announced until recently.

This controversial choice has received a blend of support and backlash from parents and students, specifically, those that have relentlessly studied the entirety of high school to earn this title.

Although this plan holds respectable intentions, it will cause a disservice to students.

Many argue that this competition is unhealthy and damaging to a student’s already-fragile mental health. However, this competition is not detrimental, but rather prepares students for the rest of their life.

High school is not just for learning, but arms students for the second they are thrust into reality and have to hold responsibility upon their shoulders. In actuality, there is competition around each corner concerning building a legacy for yourself, career, and family.

As harsh as it sounds, there will always be someone who is better than you at a specific skill, job, or subject.

With that being said, a student not achieving one of these cutthroat titles does not have the rest of their life dictated by this loss. Success is possible for anyone with an indestructible drive.

However, if a student were to achieve that title and not get recognized for their endeavors, their chances of receiving certain scholarships will simply disappear.

Achieving this goal is rare, but it is not the be-all-end-all. High school should be looked upon as a growth and learning experience throughout life with or without awards. Scholarships can still be earned, students will qualify to attend their dream school, but it is crucial to keep this tradition alive for the students who spend their entire high school career chasing this seemingly unreachable goal.

Being a valedictorian or a salutatorian is not simply a title, it is a legacy fulfilled through four years of all-nighters, constant studying, and an unbreakable determination. By completely disregarding this title, it is insulting to students who actively work to academically prosper.