The days of a lone valedictorian, honored for their long hours of studying by a graduation speech and a special cord, are over. In fact, one Oregon high school chose to honor not one, but 29 high school seniors with the coveted valedictorian title.
According to Oregon’s KTVZ, Redmond High School introduced weighted grades into their school district this year, weighting tougher classes with “strenuous requirements” and pushing the grade point average limit to a 5.0.
In the past, the criteria for valedictorian status was having the highest GPA, but because the school changed its policy, officials opted to honor those with a 4.0 GPA or higher as valedictorians. And at Redmond High School, 29 fit the bill, deemed the “legacy class.”
For Whitney Allen, the dream of becoming valedictorian had long died — or so she thought.
“Freshman year, I set a goal to be valedictorian, and then my first trimester, I got a B. So I was like, ‘I’m not going to be.’ But then it worked out, and I was very surprised,” Allen told KTVZ.
According to the generous high school, this will be the only year that more than one valedictorian will be honored. The school expects to go back to one valedictorian and salutatorian next year.
“There’s a group of students who all had a 4.0, who expected to be valedictorian,” Assistant Principal Tony Pupo told KTVZ. “It wasn’t really fair to them to all of a sudden change the policy.”
Redmond High School isn’t the first school to award an entourage of valedictorians. Across the country in Ocala, Fla., Vanguard High School graduated 25 straight-A students last year due to a similar weighted-GPA system.
But students didn’t have to worry about heading to a graduation ceremony with 29 speeches. The “legacy class” submitted speeches anonymously and the top three were chosen.