Unlike many other schools, Troy High does not rank students academically or name a valedictorian.


Logan Smith

Jace Johansson, ‘16, addresses last year’s graduates; valedictorians traditionally speak at high school graduations.

In the North American school system, educational institutions have historically conferred the title of valedictorian upon one student in each class. The valedictorian, typically the student with the greatest academic achievement, gives an address at graduation. In contrast with this tradition, Troy High does not select a valedictorian, which some people feel is a wise decision.
“It would have been impossible to have one before we weighted grades because we have had so many 4.0 cumulative grade point students,” guidance counselor Anne Young said. “There would have been 40 people tied for valedictorian.”
Troy High weights grades, meaning that students can earn 5 GPA credits for getting an A in an AP course or 4 for an A in a regular course. As a result, there are many students who have higher than a 4.0 GPA, the traditional standard of a perfect academic record. In the class of 2016, there were 129 students who had a 4.0 weighted GPA or higher.
Some students feel that if there were a valedictorian, students would overwork themselves or even resort to cheating.
“I think especially for Troy High, where the competition is so tough without a valedictorian, having one could turn out to be hurtful to students’ mental and physical health,” senior Lueda Shemitraku said. “I wouldn’t want to spend my whole high school career worrying about my grades when you can have a well rounded experience.”
Some students said they wanted to have a valedictorian.
“I would say I am in favor of having a class valedictorian at Troy High,” sophomore Justin Jones said. “Students would probably be more motivated to achieve academic excellence even if only one person is awarded the title.”
Others feel that the naming of a single valedictorian would fail to reflect the diverse achievements of the graduating class.
“There are so many people that are amazing at sports and other extracurriculars, and if there was a valedictorian only based on grades it would diminish other people’s accomplishments,” senior Rijul Maini said.
Other students echo this criticism.
“I am against having a valedictorian at Troy High because it takes away from everybody else,” junior David Muso said. “There could be plenty of other people who had good grades but had other things in their life that they had to be responsible for.”
Muso said that the title itself could end up being a reflection of privilege rather than ability.
“The valedictorian might not be the best student,” he said. “It might just be the person who has the best access to tutors and the most amount of time on their hands.”
The title could also result in a negative impact for those who put forth their best but do not make the cut.
“Those who do not get valedictorian might feel discouraged or less inclined to do well in college or other future endeavors,” Jones said.
While academic competition can benefit students, some hold that it is still very important not to promote a cutthroat environment for learning. Students and administrators are concerned that intensified pressure will not benefit students.
“The positive competition to take challenging classes and prepare oneself for a career or profession in the future is good and healthy,” Young said. “However, intense competitions for grades is not.”