Valedictorian: Not the position for you

Valedictorian; the glorious title given to the top-ranking student of the class. It’s more than just an honorable mention and highest achievement. It serves as an instant recognition into a dream university, or a chance to deliver the graduation speech you’ve waited for your entire academic life. Either way, earning the title of ‘Number 1’ seems like the only goal almost all high school students want to achieve, but does it matter?

Valedictorian is awarded by the person with the highest GPA of the graduating class. Different methods of ranking students may vary, some schools may end up having several selected students sharing the title of number one. In Clark County, this severe case serves no exception. With the pool of students, given the maximum grade earned, the ease of earning Valedictorian diminishes the infamous title. The more students passing the same rigorous courses- the more chances of sharing “Number 1”. In Spring Valley’s graduating class of 2019, nine students were honored “Best in Class”.

Being ranked on the very top among hundreds of students may seem over glorified, but in the eyes of colleges and universities, it’s simply just another glance in the admission process. Since colleges usually weigh an applicant’s GPA against others in the same school, the highest class rank serves no significant purpose in acceptance- the more students you share “Number 1” with, the less likely you will stand out.

Though awards acknowledging the achievement of “the best” aims to encourage a hard-working environment, where students are striving towards being a Valedictorian, or even Salutatorian, find themselves engaging in a competitive atmosphere. With the number of rigorous courses they also tend to take to secure additional credit, they submerge themselves into hours of study time, which puts a strain on their mental health. Students jeopardize their sleep schedules, pulling all-nighters dedicated to homework and studying to maintain that perfect A.

While the nature of being a high school Valedictorian relies on representing years of hard work and qualities of a “good student”, it may not always be worth aiming for.