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Petition Fights WPS Vote to End Valedictorian Honors

26 December 2018 Winchester Frederick County News

A Winchester Public School Board vote to end valedictorian and salutatorian honors has triggered the start of an online petition to bring them back.

On December 10th, the School Board voted 4-1 to replace Valedictorian and Salutatorian with more rigorous bands of recognition following the college/university model, including summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude. The summa cum laude recognition requires a 4.0 higher, a criteria that Winchester Public Schools Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum has said 15 to 30 students typically meet each year; in an email, Van Heukelum said that the Board wants to celebrate “really good” students as such, and that the school division “is aligning [their] high school experience to the college experience and preparing… top students for what they will experience in college.”

However, former School Board member John Bishop is fighting this change with his online petition, “Bring back Valedictorians to John Handley High School.” The petition, which is currently accruing signatures on change.org, cites reports from a local news outlet that the School Board’s decision was made to remove “unhealthy competition,” and claims that administrators have made baseless claims that the goal of attaining valedictorian and salutatorian honors makes some students less well rounded. Bishop is calling for the decision to be rescinded; as of 10 a.m. this morning, his petition has reached 938 signatures.

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