Class rankings to disappear next year

Paris Rogers, Staff Writer

Last spring The Virginian-Pilot released an article stating that Virginia Beach Public Schools will end a tradition of a lifetime: Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and class rankings. Some students are for it, while others are against it.

Life isn’t fair, not everyone gets an award in sports, so why make the competition in education any different. The dedicated students who strive hard for success should get more recognition because they worked harder.

“Rankings will end with the class of 2022 and be replaced by a Latin honors system that recognizes more students,” stated The Virginian-Pilot. The Latin Honors System which is rarely-used, maxima cum laude, “with very great honor,” is an intermediary honor between the magna and the summa honors. Soon students who strive for the top grade point average will not be recognized as before.

Many adults are also against it.

“We need to be raising the bar for our students, not lowering it. These are the reasons I cannot support the proposed policy,” said Victoria Manning, School Board member.

If students don’t have a ranking to strive for, they will try less and not try as hard to progress in their academics.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said  Benjamin Purvis about the vote, who is a junior. “The main issue was equity within the school system. We wanted to see all students were addressed and had a fair chance at achieving a class rank.”

In New Jersey, they are trying to make it to where everyone makes a school team. How do you think it feels to the people who work hard every day to improve and make the team, only to find out that their hard work was a waste? That’s how students are going to feel when they don’t receive a distinguished award at the podium when they graduate.

Imagine entering a contest for a particular project. You work so hard on it and stay up late nights to perfect it. You enter the contest, but in the end, everyone gets the same award. Would you enter the “contest” next year? I know I wouldn’t if I knew I would win something no matter what. 

Many people think this is a benefit because people get discouraged when they don’t achieve. Possibly, they will become more motivated, knowing they are getting rewarded. If everyone gets the same award, they will feel included. This can boost their confidence and make them strive for more. More what? Why strive for more when there is nothing more to achieve? 

Valedictorian is one of the most coveted honors at the high school level.  This person represents the student body by achieving the highest grade point average in the school. Imagine being that person with little to no recognition, striving, stressing, and working for a simple diploma and handshake like everyone else.  Surely, motivation to maintain that kind of excellence in one’s studies would decrease.

The School Board should overrule their decision on getting rid of class rankings, so students have something to strive for. We need to keep the bar higher if we want to see academic improvement.