Why Not Just Honor Everybody
, here's the story of a high school
with 41 valedictorians.All those late-night study sessions finally paid off. Christina Azimi graduated as valedictorian of Fairfax's Robinson Secondary School.
So did Travis Halbert, Azimi's friend since elementary school. And Jonathan Cross, who was in her English class. In fact, when Robinson Principal Dan Meier praised the school's top academic talent at commencement Thursday afternoon, nearly two full rows of graduates stood to be recognized as valedictorians.
"At this time, I would like to award all 41 students who have achieved that honor," Meier said as the crowd cheered. "I tell these guys," Meier joked, "the only thing I have in common with them is I rarely received a B in high school myself."
As high school graduates across the region accept their diplomas this month, one tradition has changed greatly. The title of valedictorian -- the coveted top slot for the brainiest student -- is no longer necessarily reserved for the single best student.
It's in response to the usual complaints. The students are too competitive; if we weight the grades somebody will take too many tough courses, while if we don't somebody will take too many easy courses. Gee, you mean they'll figure out what's to their advantage and do it? Can't have that, now, can we?
This is the same feel-good nonsense that results in every member of every team getting a trophy. When I was a kid trophies were few and far between; but they meant something. I won three trophies as a boy; one for winning the most events at a summer camp (my favorite trophy), one for coming in second at the football toss on the Fourth of July, and one for my little league team finishing third in our town league. And yes, the second and third-place trophies were significantly smaller than the ones the first-place finishers received.