On Sept. 22, Calvert County’s four public high school principals proposed to the County school board that the County consider retiring the Valedictorian and Salutatorian program in favor of a three-tiered Latin honor system. The Board members seemed to be in favor of this idea. The principals stated that the “top two” system is only motivational for a few number of students and causes a lot of stress for those students. Traditionally, the two students achieving these honors each year would speak at graduation; the principals feel that these students don’t always represent the majority of the student body. In contrast, they feel that a system of cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude would apply to a larger percentage of the student body and would be more motivational and less stressful overall. From the Washington Post:
In Maryland, Frederick, Worchester, Howard, Carroll and Baltimore counties are moving away from the valedictorian system, although the latter two counties allow individual schools to decide which type of honor system to use.
[Nancy Highsmith of Patuxent High School] added in a later interview that school systems in Washington, Minnesota, Vermont and South Carolina have done away with the valedictorian titles and that systems in Florida, Nevada and New York are examining possibly dropping the system.
“The trend is moving away from the valedictorian and salutatorian,” Highsmith said in the interview, adding that the majority of schools that have dropped the titles replaced it with a Latin honors system or some form of three-tiered merit honors system.