The Last Valedictorian


Sophie Middlemas

1985 GJHS graduation picture.

Having a valedictorian is a high school tradition that has been happening since the early 1800s and to eradicate this tradition would be to eradicate the dreams of hard-working students.

“I am disappointed to see it go,” said sophomore Kathryne Ellis, “It was nice that the top-ranked student received recognition for their hard work and GPA. It seems pointless to get rid of a tradition and title schools all around the world partake in. Plus it is unfair because the high-class rankings will go unnoticed and unacknowledged by their peers. I was excited to at least try to achieve the title of valedictorian or salutatorian. Now there is no possibility of earning that and that is unfair to all students who work hard to maintain a high GPA.” Ellis is among those at the top of the 2021 class, working hard to maintain her high GPA.

“The valedictorian situation doesn’t affect me, but I would say it can equally be positive as it is negative,” junior Lizzette Gonzalez, said, “I think people should be rewarded for their hard work, but on the other hand I don’t feel it is completely necessary because other people may also have achieved a similar GPA.” Gonzalez is a hard-working student that is also apart of Junction’s National Honor Society.

“I think they are getting rid of valedictorian because they don’t want people with similar achievements or GPA’s to feel that their accomplishments mean less,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also mentioned how it would be nice not to have to sit through another speech.

“Some kids might feel pressured into achieving the title,” Ellis said, “In working to do so they take way too many AP and honor classes and burn themselves out. They might overwhelm or overwork themselves in an attempt to earn that title at graduation. All of the stress and anguish that comes with it could lead to mental health issues.”

While getting rid of the valedictorian tradition could be saving students from overworking themselves it is also eliminating the praise that some students deserve. With the elimination of the tradition comes the end of a great era.