… and all the children are above average

We are preparing to run our annual collection of local valedictorians in this Sunday’s paper.
We’ve been doing this for several years now and it seems like the least we could do for the kids who finish at the top of their respective classes. (Nice to know if you get a 4.0 you’ll get your name in the paper at least once — after all, someone who can throw a football or baseball will probably see their name on a fairly regular basis.)

I was just looking at the file, which is mostly, but not entirely, complete. It’s 159 inches long, just the text, before photos are added. Each of the items on the valedictorians is fairly short (we also plan to do some longer features on a few graduates), so the length of the story is a bit surprising.

But easily explained: Many of the 15 high schools represented in the story have one or two or three valedictorians. But Ashland has 10, North Medford has 10 and South Medford has … drum roll … 21. Hmmm.

As the parent of a former valedictorian — who also was one of several — I know that getting a 4.0 is no small accomplishment. Every valedictorian is no doubt a hard worker and quite smart, perhaps some are even brilliant. They all deserve credit for their academic records.

But 21 valedictorians? Raises some eyebrows, as well as questions about grade inflation. Again, the kids with 4.0′s deserve the recognition and will likely to go on to do great things. No one can take the valedictorian label away from them — but perhaps it doesn’t mean as much when it’s shared with 20 other students.


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