School Board Considering Eliminating Top Academic Honors

(08/09/2005)

Dear Editor,

At the July 18, 2005 meeting of the Calhoun County Board of Education, the board placed the Valedictorian/Salutatorian Policy on comment to be repealed. On August 15, 2005 the board will vote on repealing this policy and if the policy is repealed, our county high school will no longer recognize a valedictorian and salutatorian of each graduating class.

Why is our board considering eliminating the top academic honors in our school system? The main reasons given by county administrators include "it is a nationwide trend", and "it will decrease competition among the top students". In response to "it is a nationwide trend", I am reminded of the old question we often ask our children, "if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you"? Are we jumping off this bridge because it is the right thing to do for Calhoun County High School Students or because it is a fad? Too many times nationwide trends have driven poor choices for local students. One only has to look at the much-maligned block scheduling to see an example of this.

Why do we need to eliminate competition among the top students? If the board eliminates the top academic honors this year, where does it stop? Spelling Bee Champion, Math Field Day Winner, Golden Horseshoe Award, Outstanding Vocational student, Wayne Underwood Athletic award, Lady Red Devil Athletic Award? Which award will fall next? Competition is part of the "real world". In the next few years, these students will be asked to compete for scholarships, college admissions, internships, jobs, and career advancement.

If you believe the valedictorian and salutatorian awards are important for the students of Calhoun County High School, please contact your board of education members. It is imperative they hear from you prior to August 15. In addition, please try to attend the August 15, 2005 meeting of the Calhoun County Board of Education. The meeting will be held at the Board Office at Mt. Zion beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Sincerely,
Kelley Houchin